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"State wants to know why Rochester Airport Authority ignored recommendations"
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
State wants to know why airport ignored recommendations
By David Andreatta
The Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle
A state watchdog agency that recently recommended the board of the Monroe
County Airport Authority be removed and replaced called on Monroe County
Executive Maggie Brooks on Wednesday to explain why she has refused to
The county two weeks ago responded dismissively to a scathing report on
Airport Authority operations issued by the Authorities Budget Office, which
found that the board could not act independent from county government and
had a long history of lax oversight.
The report concluded, among other things, that the seven-member board should
be replaced. The board is by law appointed by the county executive.
In a letter to Brooks dated June 1 that the state released to the media, the
director of the Authorities Budget Office asked the county executive to
inform the office of the steps she is taking to implement the recommendation
or to explain why she will not accept it.
The Authorities Budget Office is a monitoring agency and has no authority to
enforce its recommendations.
"We are troubled by the board's near complete dismissal of the report's
findings, and its lack of response to specific examples of inappropriate or
questionable travel and operating expenses that were routinely approved,"
wrote the director, David Kidera.
"As the appointing authority for Monroe County Airport Authority board
members," the letter later continued, "it is the county executive's
responsibility to hold directors to the standards of accountability that is
expected of public board members."
Kidera asked that Brooks respond by June 30.
County spokesman Noah Lebowitz said the county has already informed the
state of its intentions in no uncertain terms.
"Monroe County's response to the ABO report was clearly communicated to both
the public and the ABO in writing several weeks ago," Lebowitz said. "Monroe
County considers the matter closed, and will reiterate this position to Mr.
Kidera in response to his letter sent to the media today."
When the state issued its report, the county refuted its findings and
released a statement that none of the 14 recommendations "would strengthen
airport operations or financial practices" beyond the reforms that the
Airport Authority adopted months earlier at the urging of Brooks.
Those reforms included restrictions on business travel expenses and credit
card use and prohibited the purchase of alcohol and tobacco.
In its report, the state concluded that the reforms were insufficient and
criticized the board for only moving to correct lapses after it was under
pressure from the county executive to do so.
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