House administrative chief Beard quits after negative internal review

By Ben Pershing
Washington Post staff writer
Friday, July 2, 2010

House Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard resigned his post Thursday, days after an internal report criticized his office for lax management.

The CAO is in charge of the day-to-day operations of much of the House, from payroll and information technology services to child care and parking for employees. Beard, a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), has held the post since the start of the 110th Congress.

"Today, Dan Beard offered his resignation as CAO of the House of Representatives and I have accepted it," Pelosi said in a statement issued by her office. "It is with gratitude that we recognize Dan's contributions to the House: spearheading the 'Green the Capitol' initiative and leading the development of online transparency efforts on Member expenses, among other achievements."

In his own message to employees, Beard said, "I am departing the House to pursue other interests and spend more time with my grandkids."

Beard did not mention other reasons for his departure, but lawmakers and senior aides have complained of receiving poor service from the CAO, and a new report by the House inspector general's office found that the CAO's payroll and financial counseling operations were rife with problems.

According to a draft of the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, "A higher degree of anxiety and uncertainty appears to exist among staff in both Financial Counseling and [payroll and benefits]. Frequent management changes and staff turnover contribute to a sense of organizational instability and uncertainty." The report also found that "[c]ommunications between management and staff have been inadequate" and that there is "low staff morale" that is "evident to customers" of the CAO.

Roll Call, which first disclosed the report this week, wrote Thursday that the House Appropriations Committee had decided to withhold $20 million from the CAO's budget for the next fiscal year until the office made several changes suggested in the report.

Although he is close to Democratic leaders, Beard has attracted some controversy in the post. Republicans have accused him of being overzealous in promoting the Green the Capitol environmental initiative and suggested that Beard, a former Democratic aide on the House Natural Resources Committee, might be too partisan to hold the nonpartisan CAO post.

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