- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell wasted little time in exercising his new right to add members to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s board of directors, announcing appointments less than a week after federal legislation creating the positions was signed.

The Republican governor on Wednesday named the CEO of a Maryland-based Internet technology company and a Northern Virginia entrepreneur who lost a bid for state Senate this month.

Todd A. Stottlemyer of Oak Hill, Va., the chief executive officer of Silver Spring-based Acentia, and Caren Merrick of McLean, currently a partner with the consulting firm Bibury Partners, are Mr. McDonnell’s choices for the state’s two new slots on the beleaguered board.

Mr. Stottlemyer had previously served as an executive vice president for Inova Health System and president and chief executive officer of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Mr. Stottlemyer currently serves on the boards of Virginia Commerce Bank, the Northern Virginia Technology Council and the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, among others. He contributed $22,500 to Republican candidates and causes this year in Virginia, including $15,000 to Mr. McDonnell’s Opportunity Virginia PAC.

Ms. Merrick co-founded the software company webMethods, which was acquired by the Herndon-based Software AG in 2007. She served as a member of Mr. McDonnell’s Economic Development and Jobs Creation Commission in 2010 and lost this month to Democrat Barbara Favola in the race for the seat of retiring state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, Arlington Democrat.

Legislation supported by U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, and signed by President Obama last week, expands the 13-member board to 17, granting two additional appointments to Virginia and one apiece to the District and Maryland.

The legislation also forbids members from serving past the end of their terms and allows all members to be removed for “cause.”

Asked about the speed with which Mr. McDonnell announced his appointments, Dan Scandling, Mr. Wolf’s chief of staff, said, “It’s the law.”

“They’re appointed to the board as of today,” he said, “and I expect Maryland and D.C. to appoint their new members.”

Mr. Wolf in May introduced legislation that reached even further, and would have given Virginia a majority of the seats on the board that oversees the region’s two airports, the Dulles Toll Road, and the $6 billion project to extend Metrorail to Washington Dulles International Airport.

Mr. Wolf had grown increasingly frustrated with some of the actions and rules of the board, frequently citing the example of a vote cast by proxy by a former board member under house arrest in the Ivory Coast to advance the nomination of a candidate to lead the authority.

Earlier this year, he also called for an audit of the authority from the office of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general, which should be completed in the spring.

An MWAA spokeswoman said the IG “is not auditing the authority itself, but is conducting an audit of the Office of the Secretary of Transportation on their oversight of their lease with MWAA and any laws associated with that lease.”

Mr. McDonnell has consistently lobbied for more state representation on local transportation boards.

Earlier this year, the state withheld millions of dollars from the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) until the commission, which doles out money for transit services like Metro and the Virginia Railway Express, gave the state more representation on local transit boards.

And after repeated attempts last year to gain a seat for Virginia on the Metro board, Mr. McDonnell slipped a budget amendment through during the 2011 General Assembly session reallocating the state’s seats on the regional body.

His selection, James W. Dyke Jr., a Northern Virginia lawyer who served as the state’s education secretary under former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, is expected to be appointed in January.

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