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CAO Reports Saving the House $3M

Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Chief Administrative Officer Dan Strodel reported that his office saved the House $3 million over the first half of the year.

The Office of the Chief Administrative Officer saved the House $3 million over the first half of the year, according to the office’s semiannual report.

The report, submitted last month to the House Administration Committee, stated that from the time Dan Strodel took the helm as CAO in January through the end of June, the office froze vacant positions, reduced reliance on contractors and eliminated funding for nonessential programs.

“In this era of tightened budgets, the U.S. House of Representatives and the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) are faced with new financial realities,” Strodel wrote in the report. “Like all Americans, the CAO is striving to operate more efficiently with fewer resources. To do this, we have focused on our core mission: providing the House community with services essential to its operations.”

House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren called the savings “a good start.”

“I commend Mr. Strodel for his hard work and have confidence in his ability to identify additional savings and ways to achieve greater efficiency within House operations,” the California Republican said in a statement Wednesday.

The office provides operations infrastructure and support to the House in areas such as technology, finance, logistics, human resources and acquisitions. It was appropriated approximately $127 million for fiscal 2011, about $3 million less than it was appropriated the year before, according to CAO spokesman Dan Weiser.

The report singled out the fact that the CAO took over carpet-cleaning duties previously handled by contractors in order to save money.

“The CAO carpet shop assumed the duties of the previous public carpet cleaning contract, saving the House nearly $200,000 per year,” it stated. “By hiring key personnel within the carpet shop, we were able to develop and maintain a carpet cleaning schedule for various areas using only House staff.”

Most of the savings were achieved through staffing vacancies, according to Weiser. The CAO was operating with 99 vacancies as of June 30, or almost one-eighth of its 798 positions, the report said.

“More than $1 million, the bulk of the savings, came through not filling vacant positions,” Weiser said in an email Wednesday. “Substantial savings also came from reduced contractor support, equipment replacement and maintenance savings, and from cancelling underutilized services.”

The report was issued before the CAO laid off 23 employees, including 10 from the First Call Service Center, which is the first point of contact for Member offices for everything from moving furniture to filing “Dear Colleague” letters.

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