Martire Ouster Has Cost MWAA $75,000
Board member says governor is wrong for trying to cut him from 13-member board.
Dennis Martire, a Democratic appointee to the 13-member board, says his removal from the group that is charged with constructing Metrorail's Silver Line is politically motivated.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has argued that Martire damaged his credibility with questionable expenses, including spending nearly $9,200 to travel business class to Europe.
Martire, an official with the Laborers’ International Union of North America, was appointed to the board by the previous governor, Tim Kaine (D).
Martire has clashed with McDonnell over several issues, including a labor-friendly provision as part of the Phase 2 of the Silver Line.
A Fairfax County Circuit Court judge ruled last week against McDonnell, leaving one seat on the MWAA board vacant as the parties resolve the dispute.
McDonnell has attempted to replace Martire with Caren Merrick, a Republican who lost her run for delegate in the 31st District last fall.
At issue is whether McDonnell had the authority to remove Martire before his term ended. Sec. of Transportation Sean Connaughton told the Washington Post that Martire was removed for his "abuse of ethical issues."
Part of the issue stems from whether expense concerns highlighted by a recent review of the board by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inspector General constitute abuse, despite having been authorized. The entire MWAA board had previously backed the PLA, with the apparent coordination of Virginia Sec. of Transportation Sean Connaughton.
So while the dispute is resolved, Virginia has one less representative on the board.
"We continue to maintain that there is no legal or factual cause for my removal from the board, which is the requirement set forth in federal and Virginia statute," Martire said last week. "The governor once again has failed to present any evidence of cause for removal, and we look forward to moving forward with our case."
Phase 1 of the Silver Line - from Tysons Corner to Reston's Wiehle Avenue - is slated to open in late 2013. Phase 2, not yet begun,will run from Reston Parkway to Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County.