THE OVERSEERS of the Washington area’s main airports have made some dubious calls in the last few years, the common element of which is profligate spending for little or no benefit. Now comes word of another such episode — a payment of $200,000 made last year to an unsuccessful candidate for the top job at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. That outlay, and the decision to create a six-figure job for a member of the authority’s board of directors who stepped down for health reasons, can only leave those who rely on the agency’s judgment scratching their heads.
The authority manages two of the busiest airports in America, the Dulles Toll Road, used by tens of thousands of commuters daily, and construction of Metro’s Silver Line extension to Dulles airport, one of the country’s biggest public infrastructure projects. Unfortunately, its board of directors — unlike its highly regarded professional staff — hasn’t always been up to the job.