Press Release

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For Immediate Release
November 1, 2012

Airports Authority Welcomes Inspector General’s Report as Aid in Improving Transparency and Accountability and Earning Public Trust
16-month Audit Notes Progress of Ongoing Policy Initiatives

Leaders of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority pledged Thursday to use an audit by the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General to further expand its ongoing initiatives to increase transparency, strengthen governance and build renewed public trust.

Thursday’s report, which follows an Interim Report released in May, completes a 16-month audit that has prompted calls for improvements in areas including procurement, travel and ethics policies, human resources practices and transparency. Over the past months, the Authority has been engaged in a number of initiatives to review and revise policies and procedures across the organization.

“We take all the issues and concerns cited in the report very seriously and will respond to all of the report’s recommendations,” Authority Board Chairman Michael Curto said. “We are examining today’s report with a particular focus on items that were not discussed in the Interim Report.”

Curto noted that the Authority is making significant progress addressing issues cited by the Inspector General, with several major policy revisions complete and others under way.

“We are gratified that the final report acknowledges the actions we have taken since the May Interim Report, as well as our ongoing initiatives, to bring greater transparency and accountability, efficiency, and integrity to our operations and governance,” Curto said. “We are committed to strong oversight and internal controls and to making certain that everything we do going forward reflects the best practices of government and industry. We will use this report as a tool in expanding and enhancing our work to increase transparency, strengthen governance and build renewed public trust.”

Curto emphasized that the Airports Authority has been working closely with a Federal Accountability Officer appointed by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to review and revamp policies and procedures and to address issues raised by LaHood, Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf.

“While the criticisms and issues raised have been unpleasant to hear – and will require hard work to address – we appreciate their interest and guidance, and we know they share our goal of making the Airports Authority a better organization.”

To date, the Authority’s new policy initiatives include:

In addition, the Authority is developing further revisions to its procurement and human resource programs, which are expected to be completed this calendar year. To immediately address specific concerns, the Authority has: 

Airports Authority President and CEO Jack Potter noted that in the area of procurement, the Authority is “well into the process of revising our contracting manual and other procedures to reflect best practices and promote fair and open competition.

“In the area of human resources, we are moving forward with a process to ensure that at our hiring processes, our compensation and benefits structures to assure that they are consistent with our goal of best practices,” Potter said, adding that the Board recently approved the airports police department’s pursuit of regulatory approval for additional authority to conduct criminal background checks to aid the personnel process.

Potter further noted that “some issues cited in the report are one-time or isolated events, which were detected and dealt with when they occurred during the five years covered by the audit. For some other issues, we need to have the details and facts to be sure we have a fair and accurate assessment of the findings. We are asking the Inspector General to share those facts and details with us.”

Potter thanked Authority employees for remaining “focused on customer service and on our core missions of managing Reagan and Dulles airports and the Dulles Toll Road and construction of the Silver Line.  All those enterprises are operating well, which is a testament to the talent and dedication of the MWAA staff.”