At Last… Stottlemyer Appointed to MWAA Board


Gov. Bob McDonnell has finally got his man, Todd Stottlemyer, on the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Board. Sadly, it took the departure of Mame Reily, a former board chair who resigned in order to battle breast cancer, to open up a seat.

The governor had originally tried to appoint Stottlemyer, CEO of Northern Virginia IT services company Acentia, as one of two new board members provided under recently passed federal law. But the MWAA board refused to seat him or McDonnell’s other appointee, Caren Merrick, on the grounds that Virginia and Washington, D.C., had not legally amended their interstate compact to ratify the federal law. Thus the two Virginia representatives, plus one additional appointee from D.C. and one from Maryland, cannot be seated until July 1.

While Stottlemyer will be outnumbered by board members appointed by the Washington mayor, the governor of Maryland or the President of the United States, he may set a new tone. Reily, a prominent Democratic Party fund raiser closely aligned with former governors Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, had played a leadership role in getting the MWAA board to adopt some of its controversial decisions regarding the Rail-to-Dulles project. Stottlemyer, a long-time Republican stalwart, can be counted upon to support McDonnell’s agenda.

Lucky guy.


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  1. What McDonnell did was just more partisan poop cooking.

    what he SHOULD have done is work to make MWAA have a more transparent process that would in turn open it up to the public who would, in turn bring some level of accountability.

    the problem is that most politicians in Va support a process that is removed by citizens eyes.

    this is why VDOT is such a mess and why the CTB much like MWAA works outside of public realm and works against the public interest in relative secrecy.

    ALL that happened here is that the GOP did not like their OX gored so they wanted to level the political playing field but God forbid we actually do something principled and in the public interest.

    MWAA and CTB are the tip of the iceberg in Va.

    DJ gets wound up on the Dillon Rule and the Clown Show.

    He needs to worry about the agencies like CTB and MWAA who pretty much don’t care what the public thinks even as they use people’s money as if they are elected levying taxes.

  2. DJRippert Avatar

    If I move my company’s headquarters from Cambridge, MA to Reston, VA can I get appointed to the MWAA too?

  3. DJRippert Avatar

    LarryG remains in orbit around the Earth.

    The CTB is appointed by the Clown Show which sets its rules. Or, more accurately, it is appointed by the one term governor who is an appendage of the Clown show since he or she will oly serve one term and then needs the Clown Show to even get on Virginia’s idiotic national ballot.

    The MWAA has its Virginia appointees sent by the Clown Show. This includes the much maligned Mame Reily who was appointed by the Governor of Virginia. So was the much maligned Dennnis Matrire.

    The Virginia MWAA representatives should be appointed by the counties and cities in Northern Virginia where Metro operates. The appointments should be in proportion to the population of those entities.

    McDonnell has now appointed a woman who ran a very disappointing campaign for state senate (Merrick) and a Republican businessman who moved his company from Maryland to Virginia.

    Whether either of them know much about mass transit remains to be seen.

    Read the bios of the MWAA members appointed by the President of the United States. Former Assistant Directors of Transportation in Ohio, Deputy Secretary of Transportation in North Carolina, former counsel to the House Government Activities and Transportation Policy Committee, former board member of the Lehigh Valley International Airport.

    Let’s be honest … everybody in Northern Virginia would be a lot better off if Virginia didn’t appoint anybody to the MWAA board. They should give their appointments to the President of the United States and let him or her make the picks.

  4. the way the MWAA is structured and operates is similar to the CTB and other non-elected authorities in Va that essentially constitute an unelected and unaccountable governance.

    When the only hope for fixing a problem within the MWAA rests only with the Gov of Va and yet the decisions of this body affects virtually everyone in NoVa, you know we have a serious problem.

    This guy STOTTLEMYER may or may not know anything about transit but why does it matter because he can do whatever he feels like doing no matter how harmful it is to the financial interests of NoVa taxpayers – with full immunity.

    He could care less what citizens of NoVa think.. because there is not a thing they can do about it.

    If NoVa citizens had the right to initiate referenda, MWAA would be gone in a heartbeat.

  5. Virginia politicians support a process that is immmune to citizens eyes.

    Might be one reason VA finished 47 out of fifty in a study assessing states susceptibility to corruption.

  6. I’ll say it again. If the MWAA had to stand for election or citizens had the right to initiate a referenda, MWAA would be a dramatically different critter.

    And it’s totally ironic that MWAA can take money from citizens without any accountability as to how much or how that money is spent.

    Bob McDonnell knows this full well. It’s clearly obvious that he’s no different than Kaine or Warner on protecting MWAA from being held accountable by citizens.

    I’m beside myself on the dunderhead campaign against PLAs when the PLAs are just a symptom of this bigger issue and the PLA folks seem to be just fine as long as the Republicans get to steer the ship – and don’t worry about the basic legitimacy of governance at all.

    We basically have a Clown Show in Richmond because voters themselves are essentially part of the clown show troupe when they grab the PLA dog bone and ignore the rest of the ham hock.

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      I kind of agree with you. However, I am unsure what Bob McDonnell would do differently. The Washington Metropolitan Area is comprised of parts of Virginia, Maryland and DC. In addition, it is the capital of the United States and, therefore, the federal government is a legitimate stakeholder in the area.

      The MWAA is a multi-jurisdictional agency. It has to be. Bob McDonnell can only make good appointments to the Agency. He can’t sieze control of Maryland or DC.

      The only real answer would be for the Washington NUR to become its own state or for the federal government to take administrative control of the area away from the two states and DC and operate the area as an independent entity. In my opinion, either choice would be beter than being under the yoke of the Clown Show in Richmond.

      However, the CTB is another matter. The Clown Show has complete control over the CTB. It can make that organization an elected body. It can make appointments to the CTB the result of a vote of the state delegates from each trasnportation region. It could, at least, revise the boundaries of the CTB to reflect today’s demographics rather than the population of Virginia in 1932.

      However, the Clown Show in Richmond has done none of these things.

      The Clown Show in Richmond created the hideous creature known as the CTB. It has mismanaged the CTB virtually since its inception. Today, the CTB is an abortion of an organization, succeeding at nothing, rubber stamping everything and wholly out of synch with the present population of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Yet you somehow want to blame the MWAA while holding the Clown Show in Richmond harmless.

      I’ll believe that the MWAA is the primary source of blame once the Clown Show fixes the CTB. Let’s see … the Clown Show has had 80 years to fix the CTB. Care to bet when they’ll at least realign the transportation districts to reflect the population of the state?

  7. There is case before the 4th Circuit that is challenging MWAA’s authority to finance Dulles Rail through Dulles Toll Road fees. Among the issues are whether MWAA has authority to operate a toll road since its power is generally limited to operating airports. Note that the DTR has nothing to do with airport access. That function is performed by the Dulles Airport Access Highway. The lack of realistic public oversight is also an issue. It’s a facsinating case, IMO.

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      Ahhh … good old Republicans. They rant and rage over activist judges and a judiciary that they believe makes laws rather than interprets the law. They blame liberals for running to the courts to have the decisions of democratically elected bodies overturned. They clamor for tort reform.

      But – what do they do when they don’tget their way? They run like scalded dogs or crying little girls to the very courts the profess to detest. They look for tiny loopholes that distinguish the toll road from the access road. They ignore the RFP and bidding process run by the state of Virginia which awarded the MWAA control of the Dulles Toll Rd. No doubt they see a procedural flaw in that process where five bidders put forth proposals and the MWAA was selected.

      But, oh boy – let’s talk about Roe v. Wade. How dare the Supreme Court justices imply a right to privacy in the constitution! They are vastly over-stepping their boundaries.

      Now, was that the Dulles Access Road or the Dulles Toll Road that was illegally given to the MWAA as the result of a bidding process run by the state of Virginia?

  8. HardHatMommy Avatar

    The case TMT references is one to watch.

    So what would it take to actually require experience in running an airport in order to be on the MWAA board? Is that an act of the U.S. Congress to require some new guideliness for MWAA board nominations?

    No doubt the Governor has faith and confidence in his appointment; it will reflect on him so he best choose wisely. But if we were to really fix this problem, we should require that board members have some kind of relevant experience. When you are a subject matter expert, you tend to be more immune to politics and more true to your expertise.

    Oh Larry, you just kill me over the PLA issue. But I’m done. I’ve checked out of that dialogue.

    Bottom line – MWAA is not competent, has lackluster ethics, and may have overstepped their bounds. I want to see rail reach Loudoun. I think it is a wise choice. But I also see the perspective of the toll road users. Should they pay for 75% or more of the project? I don’t know. All I know is that MWAA is pretty darn corrupt.

    1. DJRippert Avatar


      Here is the list and photos of the Commonwealth Transportation Board. See if you can find biographies of any of the members on the CTB site. See if you can find biographies of these people anywhere on the internet.

      Here is a page of the MWAA web site. The biographies of the board members are as clear as a bell.

      You are quick to criticize the MWAA board but you have no information at all about the CTB.

  9. Oh geeze HHM.. I was so hoping to get a RISE out of You!


    Should folks who live in Loudoun be…essentially taxed by a group of people who cannot be removed no matter or egregious or unfair their actions are?

    Normally, a BOS deals with the tenuous balance between setting a tax rate and staying in office. Even that by Va standards is a joke because BOS cannot be recalled and you have to wait 4 years to get them out of office.

    By that time the damage has been done.

    In MWAA’s case they NEVER get thrown out of office no matter what!

  10. HardHatMommy Avatar

    I just checked out the CTB website. I recognized a few faces/names but you’re right – I’d have to “google” the others to figure out who they were. I have to assume from your response that the CTB group is as dysfunctional as MWAA. It takes something (PLA) with MWAA or someone (you with CTB) to prompt a busy working mom to explore outside of the normal day to day. I assume there are dozens of other groups like MWAA and CTB that fly under the public’s radar. I have no evidence of what I’m about to express, but I’ll say it anyways … beyond the U.S. President, Vice President and state Governor, the average American can’t name their elected officials. That’s really sad, but (my gut tells me) true.

    These boards understand that the engaged and informed members of the public are few and far between. They are unsupervised and they don’t have the collective sense of honor to do the right thing when nobody is looking (something good parents teach their children). They end up behaving like kids left alone in a candy store as a result.

    So I’m aware now that at least two organizations are royally screwed up. What to do? Awareness is a pre-requisite for change, but it is not the catalyst.

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      “Awareness is a pre-requisite for change, but it is not the catalyst.”. Damn, Ma – pretty tight wording there.

      The MWAA is challenging the Richmond political class by refusing to be a good lap dog like the CTB. If Sean Connaughton took a proposal to build a road to the Moon to the CTB the members of that august body would fall all over themselves to be the first to sign the approval block. It seems to me that appointment to the CTB is something of an audition for the Clown Show. If you get appointed and then do as you’re told, don’t raise a ruckus and pretend that transportation in Virginia is just fine and dandy – well, you might have a future in Richmond.

      Unfortunately, the MWAA has taken the opposite approach to a fault – at least with Rail to Dulles. If you’re an iconoclast who wants to shatter pretty much everything – then the MWAA may be the place for you.

      Neither rubber stampers nor bulls in china shops do society much good.

      The mandatory PLA was a great example. Virginia is a right to work state. My guess is that the vast majority of Virginians like it that way. I’ve lived here all my life and most people seem proud that we’re a right to work state. The MWAA effectively uses optional PLAs for Phase I. But what do they do for Phase II? Try to make the PLAs mandatory. That’s politically tone deaf. The Republicans whoop it up and make the PLAs a major issue. The Dems have to pay the piper of Big Labor and are forced to an unpopular stand in favor of mandatory PLAs. But unlike the drunken middle school children who constitute the Republican Party of Virginia, the Dems are a bit more subtle. They prove that they are worth the cost of Bi Labor’s campaign contributions by deadlocking on the PLA bill in the Senate 20-20 along strict party lines. They don’t make a lot of noise about why the PLAs should be mandatory. They vote for their paymasters knowing that Wild Bill Bolling will break the tie by voting against mandatory PLAs. By the time the next State Senate election is held in 2015 nobody will even remember what the letters P – L – A stand for. That’s unprincipled but clever. The Republicans are unprincipled but simple-minded.

  11. There are quite a few unelected authorities and many of them do try to do the right thing and many have to get approval from local (elected) governance to raise/increase rates.

    But just the fact that there is not a list of them that points to each one’s membership, agendas, and minutes is sufficient proof to demonstrate that
    the “Virginia Way” is paternalistic carry-over from the days when Virginia
    was ruled by appointees of the King who viewed the populace as uneducated and needed to have their needs looked after.

    DJ and I are not far apart on that part of Va governance. It’s deeply rooted in an arrogant and condescending view of citizens rights and abilities to participate meaningfully in governance.

    Even the elected BOS run for 4 year terms that cannot be shortened except for criminal behavior. The only BOS who actually get thrown out of office are the ones dumb enough to deal with controversial votes right before an election.

    Otherwise – they do their thing the first 2 or 3 years after getting into office because they know they are immune from accountability from the voters, then the last year before the election they lay low and/or do things their constituents like and give them credit for,

    The MWAA is an example of how if you give an unelected board the power to determine what it will charge for something – without recourse from any elected governance or the citizens – what happens.

    The CTB is chump change in that regard. They cannot raise the gas tax or levy additional fees on the transportation public in Va.

    All they can really do for money issues is to follow VDOT’s recommendations at least for funding maintenance and operations and what little bit is left – for construction… which is basically a political game where each VDOT jurisdiction will (normally) get “it’s share” of the revenues although virtually every jurisdiction claims they are getting shortchanged because there is no real accountability for gas taxes.

    No county really knows how much it generates in gas taxes nor do they know how much money VDOT spent in their county on maintenance and operations but they do know the numbers for construction.

    In many other states, CTB would be elected at the district level. They would run for that office like we see folks running for the soil and water conservation districts, etc.

    but we get right back to the “Virginia Way” which first and foremost does not even let Virginia citizens band together with a petition drive and get something like that on the ballot.

    The legislators in Richmond and the Gov are fully and very aware of this and they play the game knowing that there is no real recourse from citizens on things like the MWAA.

    That’s why the PLA thing is such a RUSE in my view. We argue about whether or not there should be a GOP or a Dem on the membership – not whether they should be elected by us or that we should have the right to change the way they operate via referenda.

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      Just remember LarryG that the MWAA did not spring forth from the Earth fully formed. It was a creation of multiple governments including the state legislature of Virginia.

      The MWAA appointments that most frustrate Jim Bacon were not appointed by Maryland or DC or the feds. They were appointed by Virginia.

      The MWAA’s control of the Rail to Dulles project and the Dulles Toll Road did not happen because they brandished pistols and seized control like pirates. It happened as the result of a proposal process run by the state government of Virginia.

      The MWAA board was reformed to recognize Virginia’s increasing role in the MWAA’s affairs. That’s why Virginia has new appointments to make. However, the CTB has been stagnant for 80 years despite massive changes in Virginia’s demographics.

      All in all ….

      The singe entity responsible for the problems with the MWAA is the Clown Show in Richmond.

      The MWAA may be challenged but it is functioning more effectively than the CTB which is entirely under the Clown Show’s control.

  12. Oh.. and did I mention the big bad Tea Party who struts and bellows about government out of control and at the Va / local level, these guys limit themselves to Agenda 21 Conspiracy theories.

    Perhaps the established gentry are correct and citizens really do not know how to participate in governance, eh?

  13. Eliminating the CTB is the best solution that comes to my mind. It’s just another layer of people who can be lobbied and avoid accountability.

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