In the Sept. 9 editorial “Half-steps on the airports board,” The Post treated Dennis Martire, a vice president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, as if he were the worst perpetrator of excessive travel by directors of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA). But Mr. Martire is by no stretch the biggest traveler to conferences among the authority’s directors. Most of Mr. Martire’s travel to conferences occurred in 2010. Yet the expenses that Martire billed to MWAA in 2010 were only the ninth-highest by a director in the past six years.
Looking at two-year periods, Mr. Martire’s travel expenses from 2010-2011 are the 10th-highest among directors during the past six years. These other directors attended conferences held in Belgium, Canada, India, Russia, Croatia, Greece, Israel, Mexico, Austria, China, Curacao and the United Arab Emirates, creating thousands more in expenses each year than Mr. Martire’s travel did.
The point is not that Mr. Martire’s travel was okay because other directors traveled, too. Rather, it is that directors traveled so much because official MWAA policy encouraged travel to conferences, including to those in foreign countries. Many, including The Post, see this policy as too costly. But it was arbitrary to single out Mr. Martire’s travel, just as it was arbitrary for the governor of Virginia to seek to remove Mr. Martire for travel that was within MWAA’s travel policy and approved by the authority.
Brian J. Petruska, Reston
The writer is the general counsel to the Laborers’ International Union of North America’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Organizing Coalition.