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MWAA gets new accountability officer

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Local,Virginia,Transportation,Liz Essley,MWAA

The authority in charge of the $6 billion Dulles Rail project will soon have a new in-house watchdog.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced Monday he is appointing attorney Lynn Deavers to be the accountability officer for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. The former officer, Kim Moore, is taking a position with the House transportation committee.

Deavers will help speed the pace of ethics and management reforms at the embattled airports authority until Congress appoints a permanent inspector general for the agency, LaHood's office said. Moore had helped the agency rewrite its travel and ethics policies.

LaHood ordered changes at the authority last summer after The Washington Examiner reported that the authority had given a former board member a $180,000-per-year job the day after she resigned for health reasons.

Deavers now works in the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of General Counsel, where she focuses on ethics and oversight.

"I congratulate Lynn on her new role, and I am confident that as the accountability officer, she will help further ensure that MWAA's policies and practices meet the high standards of ethics and fiscal responsibility that the public expects," LaHood said in a statement.

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., a leading critic of the authority, is expected to reintroduce legislation this week that would create a permanent inspector general for the troubled airports board, as well as a bill that would restructure the board to give Virginia more power, a spokesman for Wolf said.

Wolf first called for the permanent inspector general in April 2012, in advance of a federal inspector general's report that showed that the airports authority had improperly issued no-bid contracts worth millions of dollars, some of them without required board approval.

A follow-up report showed that nepotism and mismanagement were also rampant at the authority, including one top executive who hired a relative who failed a criminal background check. A House oversight committee last year called the airports authority the "poster child" for corruption.

lessley@washingtonexaminer.com

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