Your Views: Still awaiting ethics reform

Your Views: Still awaiting ethics reform

To the editor:

Nathan Macek, volunteer chair of the Alexandria Planning Commission, is also director of project development and finance and a senior vice president of WSP, a large engineering firm that has been working closely with the city and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority on the Potomac Yard Metro Station Alternative B project.

As director of project development and finance for WSP, Macek “has conducted cash flow modeling and uncertainty analyses of capital and operating funding for more than three dozen transportation projects, applying innovative financing approaches to address the budgetary challenges faced by public agencies,” according to the WSP website.

Macek publicly testified in favor of Alternative B at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality hearing at the Durant Center on July 16, 2019, right alongside Paul Smedberg, WMATA board chair. Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, City Manager Mark Jinks, former Mayor Kerry Donley and others also spoke in favor of the project at the meeting.

Macek’s dual roles – as a senior vice president at the firm that has been assisting the city and Metro for the past 10 years “with ongoing financial analysis consulting” and other services to secure funding for the new station, and chair of the Alexandria Planning Commission – is a clear conflict of interest.

Why are conflicts of interest, such as this obvious case, tolerated in Alexandria? No financial advantage, either direct or indirect, should be allowed by people serving on public trust boards.

-C. Dara, Hal Hardaway, Jimm Roberts, Alexandria