Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport Project
Receives AOPTA Award for Six-Month Period Ended - March 31, 2002
Michael Mayhew, Deputy Auditor General for Audits, is pleased to announce that the audit team for the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport project is the winner of the Audit Operations Project Team Award (AOPTA) for the six-month period ended March 31, 2002. The audit team consisted of supervisors Sherri Irwin, William Harper, Beau Hill, and Silhouette Street and team members Yvonne Benn, Heather Boyd, Julius Hampton, Daniel Jaroche, Timothy Johnson, Pamela Platter, Gregory Schroll, Tamara Torongo, Jill Trepkoski, and Michael Ventura. Throughout this project, the audit team worked in a stressful environment and under challenging conditions. This politically charged project was constantly under intense scrutiny by members of the Legislature, legislative staff, airport officials, and the media. The team was persistent in its efforts to address requests from legislative committees, while meeting tight deadlines. Initially, the OAG issued 7 reports on a preliminary review, covering a broad array of matters related to the Airport, including contractors; competitive bidding of contracts; management qualifications, responsibilities, and compensation; financial information, passenger facility charges, bond issuances, and capital outlays; airport maintenance; airport security; and land acquisition, disposal, and development. The team’s outstanding development and presentation of the 7 written reports resulted in legislative requests for the OAG to conduct more detailed reviews of specific aspects of Airport operations. As a result, the audit team produced an additional 16 reports, for a total of 23 reports responding to the legislative requests for information. The reports were a comprehensive compilation of information on Airport operations that, while responding to the legislative committees’ requests, also peaked a high level of media interest, generating countless news articles about the reports and the efforts of the audit team. The audit team did an exceptional job in performing the various aspects of this unique legislative request, under the most difficult of circumstances. The audit team exercised significant discretion, creativity, and initiative in taking general legislative requests and devising methodologies to provide key information to assist the legislative committees in gaining an understanding of Airport operations. This was the first comprehensive examination of the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in its 71-year history. Team members testified in numerous legislative hearings regarding most of the 23 reports. An outcome of the investigation included legislation that transferred management of the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to a newly established Airport Authority. The new law also strengthens contracting and internal control procedures to address concerns raised by the audit team. Also, the Airport is now under ongoing investigations by various law enforcement agencies. The ability, effort, cooperative attitude, and chemistry of the audit team were instrumental in contributing to the overall success of this project, resulting in a significant and positive contribution to air travelers and the citizens of this State.
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