Norton Requests MWAA Provide House Committee with Full Details on Chief Executive’s Compensation to Ensure Transparency

Norton Requests MWAA Provide House Committee with Full Details on Chief Executive’s Compensation to Ensure Transparency

WASHINGTON, D.C. –- (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today wrote the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) requesting that a copy of the employment contract of MWAA President and Chief Executive Officer John “Jack” Potter be provided to the Committee. While MWAA has disclosed Potter’s base salary, which ranks among the highest in the nation for airport executives, it has refused requests from the press to disclose Potter’s other compensation and employment terms and conditions. Norton has worked to ensure transparency at MWAA, such as adding language to the pending House version of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill to require the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inspector General to submit a report to Congress that includes recommendations for strengthening and improving MWAA’s Office of Audit.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

In her letter, Norton wrote, “As an airport authority that holds a lease with the federal government to operate two federally-owned airports and is governed by a board of directors comprised of both state- and federally-appointed members, MWAA has a unique and heightened duty to make transparency in its business practices a priority…. As the airport authority that holds the lease to operate two federally owned airports, MWAA has a heightened responsibility to promote transparency in its business practices. In past years, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee investigated MWAA’s practices, and an investigation by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Inspector General revealed widespread nepotism and multimillion dollar contracts that were not competitively bid. The committee was clear that open access to information and accountability to the public are critical…. There is no case to be made for withholding from the American public basic information on how MWAA compensates its executives. For these reasons, I ask that you provide a copy of Mr. Potter’s employment contract to the Committee and respond to this letter within 30 days.”

Norton’s full letter is below.

Warner H. Session

Chairman

Board of Directors

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

1 Aviation Circle

Washington, DC 20001

Dear Chairman Session:

It has come to my attention that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) has refused to make the employment contract for MWAA president and chief executive officer John E. “Jack” Potter available for public review. The only information MWAA has agreed to release is information on Mr. Potter’s base salary, which, at over $451,000 a year, ranks among the highest in the nation for airport executives. As an airport authority that holds a lease with the federal government to operate two federally-owned airports and is governed by a board of directors comprised of both state- and federally-appointed members, MWAA has a unique and heightened duty to make transparency in its business practices a priority. I write to ask that MWAA provide the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure with a copy of Mr. Potter’s employment contract.

MWAA’s refusal to release a copy of Mr. Potter’s contract contradicts its own practice of making this information public in previous years. MWAA’s refusal to release this information is also a major departure from the practices of peer airports. Airports in Chicago, Dallas and Las Vegas provided copies of their executives’ contracts in response to a survey conducted by The Washington Post, while other agencies, such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the city of Charlotte, already post information on salary, bonuses and overtime pay for their airport executives online.

As the airport authority that holds the lease to operate two federally owned airports, MWAA has a heightened responsibility to promote transparency in its business practices. In past years, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee investigated MWAA’s practices, and an investigation by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Inspector General revealed widespread nepotism and multimillion dollar contracts that were not competitively bid. The committee was clear that open access to information and accountability to the public are critical. I worked to have language included in the pending House version of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill to require the DOT’s IG to submit a report to Congress that includes recommendations for strengthening and improving MWAA’s Office of Audit. Like other airports, Dulles and Reagan airports are self-supporting, and in addition, MWAA has received $900 million in federal grant funds and nearly $2 billion in federal loans to support its management of the Metro Silver Line rail extension. There is no case to be made for withholding from the American public basic information on how MWAA compensates its executives.

For these reasons, I ask that you provide a copy of Mr. Potter’s employment contract to the Committee and respond to this letter within 30 days.

Sincerely,

Eleanor Holmes Norton

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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is proud to serve the District of Columbia.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, now in her thirteenth term as the Congresswoman for the District of Columbia, is the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. She serves on two committees: the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Contact:

Phone: (202) 408-9041
Fax: (202) 408-9048

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