The governing board of the Virginia Port Authority should resist pressure to turn over control of the state’s most valuable asset at a discount rate.
Two years ago, Gov. Bob McDonnell shook up the governing board of the Virginia Port Authority, replacing 10 of its 12 commissioners with members of his own choosing. Those men and women have a political fealty to the executive who appointed them. But once they took their seats on the board, their larger obligation was and is to the people of Virginia. They have a fiduciary responsibility to place the long-term interests of the commonwealth ahead of a governor whose tenure ends in 10 months.
The reason for the house-cleaning is in dispute. McDonnell said he was dissatisfied with the port’s performance, while ousted members say they refused to contribute revenue to a road project. Regardless, a larger issue now confronts board members and their chairman, Roanoke businessman William Fralin.