Thursday, November 01, 2012

Inspector general audit details hiring, ethics abuses at Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

A federal audit report released today by the Department of Transportation's Inspector General details $220 million in no-bid contracts awarded by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

Thursday, November 1, 10:09 AM

By Lori Aratani
The Washington Post

A federal audit of the regional airports authority has found widespread problems in its contracting and employment practices.

The report on the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority found that employees received thousands of dollars in gifts from contractors and that nepotism was common in the authority’s human resources department.

Slated to be released Thursday morning, the audit by the Transportation Department’s inspector general follows an interim report on MWAA released in May. The 50-page final document, obtained by The Washington Post, highlights new areas of concern, particularly with the authority’s hiring practices.

 MWAA, which operates Dulles International and Reagan National airports and the Dulles Toll Road, is overseeing the $5.6 billion Silver Line project extending Metrorail to Tysons Corner, Dulles Airport and Loudoun County.

The new report offers fresh ammunition for critics of the authority’s operations and its stewardship of the Silver Line project, which is one the nation’s largest infrastructure investments. The report does not name individuals cited but did include their job titles.

Authority officials have scheduled a Thursday afternoon news conference to respond to the report’s findings.

In the examination of hiring practices, the report details several incidents in which relatives of the vice president of human resources were employed in his department. It also said proper criminal background checks were not done on new employees and, as a result, employees with known criminal convictions worked at the authority “in sensitive and management positions for more than a year.”

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