“If it was a member of my family, my partner would do the checks,” said Kulle, 71. “We did not mess around.”
‘Not a patronage mill’
Crawford, who has been on the board since June 2002, sees nothing wrong with MWAA hiring his relatives. In addition to his daughter-in-law, Curtistene, Crawford said two of his 17 grandchildren worked in the agency’s student program.
One granddaughter, now 22, was paid more than $60,000 between May 2007 and January 2012, records show. Another, Rebecca Taylor, 27, collected more than $59,200 as a human resources assistant and student intern in 2007 and 2008. Taylor became a full-time employee in September 2008 and continues to work in human resources as a technician, according to records. She is paid $49,270 a year and has received more than $7,750 in bonuses and overtime. Taylor did not return a call on Friday.
“This is a government town and an agency town,” Crawford said. “If there’s a possibility that you can hire a relative . . . it was the norm.”
The children of two other board members — Chairman Michael Curto and Vice Chairman Tom Davis — also worked in the student program, as did the niece of a fourth board member, Michael O’Reilly. O’Reilly left the board last month.
“This is not a patronage mill,” said Davis, whose daughter worked in the fire department for two months in 2011. “Dozens of employees’ kids worked there.”
Davis’s daughter, Pamela, 27, said her father helped her get the job. “I got the job from him,” she said. “He suggested it for me. I didn’t know anything about the program.”
She was an intern on the ambulances and fire trucks at National and Dulles.
O’Reilly and Curto did not return several calls seeking comment.
The student program was created more than 15 years ago to supplement the authority’s work force and help shape the careers of students, according to Debbie Williams, who oversees the effort. The program requires that students be enrolled in high school or college and have a 2.5 grade point average. They are assigned to help passengers find gates or lost luggage at Dulles International or Reagan National airports, or to work in various jobs at MWAA headquarters and the Dulles Toll Road office. About 10 percent of the students this year are related to MWAA employees, Williams said.
Kin abound in student program
When Deborah Lockhart’s cousin was looking for a job during her high school summer break, Lockhart, an MWAA personnel manager, helped her get a spot in the student program in 2007, 2008 and again in 2009. Lockhart even supervised her one summer, according to authority records.
“I don’t know why she shows as having worked for me,” Lockhart said. “She worked in records, and the records person reported to me.”