Abraham Lincoln said, “You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.” This rings true, especially when different groups of people are trying to reach a consensus. Every organization has its own set of stakeholders, all with their own opinions, thoughts, and ideas of how things should be. Many organizations do not consider their stakeholders in their decision-making process. However, for those who want to be seen as a good neighbor, it is a constant challenge to incorporate the community’s wishes while still following their own agendas in an effort to maintain a collegial, collaborative environment.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), is a self-supporting agency that is responsible for the operation of Reagan National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. It was formed in 1987, through an act of Congress, and is governed by a seventeen-member board of directors, with members appointed by the president, the governors of Maryland and Virginia, and the mayor of the District of the Columbia. It does not receive taxpayer money, but generates funds from aircraft landing fees, passenger facility charges, bonds, federal and state airport improvement program funds, and the rents and revenues from the concessions that operate within the two airports.
In 2008, the Commonwealth of Virginia transferred the control, maintenance, and daily operation of the Dulles Toll Road to MWAA. The reason for this transfer was so the tolls collected could help finance the construction of the Silver Line, an extension of the Washington, D.C. Metrorail system. This new line would allow Dulles Airport and points west to be accessible by the subway system that runs in Washington, D.C. and its surrounding suburbs. MWAA is managing the project.
To generate the additional funds needed for construction, MWAA decided to implement a series of toll increases for the Dulles Toll Road. That is when the community suddenly became very interested in MWAA’s operations since most people were against the increases. Many felt that they should not be made to pay for a metro line they would never use. Those that supported the extension of metro were a bit more supportive of the toll increases and knew they could circumvent the road if the tolls became an economic burden, but those people were in the minority. Prior to these toll increases, MWAA was an organization that stayed “inside the fence” of the two airports it managed and the community did not really give the organization much thought. Now that it had expanded its areas of responsibility, everyone became much more aware of MWAA’s actions. According to Rourke (as cited in Irvin & Stansbury (2004)),
“Any sudden expansion in the public that takes an interest in its activities may be a threat…for an executive agency…The agency...