Architect of the Capitol

IG Report: Some members of Congress sexually harassed night-shift custodians
Architect of the Capitol officials accused of creating ‘culture of permissibility’

An Architect of the Capitol worker paints the wall at the top of the escalator to the Senate subway in the Capitol in November 2015. A recent report alleges a sexual harassment ‘culture of permissibility’ in the AOC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of Congress allegedly sexually harassed night shift custodial staff while they cleaned their offices. Sexual harassment prevention training went off the rails. And the Architect of the Capitol has no unified system for effectively tracking complaints and resolutions of sexual harassment cases.

These are just some of the findings in a recent inspector general’s report on sexual harassment within the AOC in the last decade.

The bells of Congress, they are a-changin’
Architect of the Capitol eyes replacement ‘legislative call system’ of bells and clocks

The Architect of the Capitol is moving forward with plans to replace the bells and clocks of the legislative call system. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There’s a new tempo coming to Capitol Hill, as plans move forward to replace the bells and clocks of the legislative call system. That means the familiar buzzes and blinking lights that have ruled the corridors for years could be changing.

The Architect of the Capitol is looking to commission the development, design and installation of a revamped system. It will work alongside the existing network used to alert members of Congress and staff to action on the floor.

House and Senate building superintendents placed on administrative leave
The high ranking Architect of the Capitol employees are under investigation

The House and Senate building superintendents, who work under acting Architect of the Capitol Christine Merdron, picture here, have been put on leave, pending an investigation into inappropriate emails. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two high ranking Architect of the Capitol employees charged with leading all operations of the House and Senate office buildings have been placed on administrative leave, an AOC spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

House Building Superintendent Bill Weidemeyer and Senate Building Superintendent Takis Tzamaras were placed on leave pending an investigation into inappropriate emails. Weidemeyer and Tzamaras both report to acting Architect of the Capitol Christine Merdon, who took the helm of the agency in late November 2018 after Stephen T. Ayers retired.

GAO says Architect of the Capitol needs workforce management changes
Government watchdog points to 2017 layoffs and urges formalized process to collect information on staffing needs

The Government Accountability Office says the Architect of the Capitol needs to revamp some workforce practices. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Architect of the Capitol’s construction division is designed to provide flexible labor options across the agency, but the Government Accountability Office says AOC needs to institute a formal process for collecting information on projects and priorities to better manage the temporary staff. In recent years employees in the construction division were given little notice of layoffs due to lack of work in certain jurisdictions.

In a report released this week, the GAO says AOC has missed opportunities to obtain information critical to making informed decisions about project staffing.

Should Congress spend more on itself to avoid deterioration?
Former lawmakers and groups think crisis is brewing if investments not made

Civil society organizations and former lawmakers are calling on appropriators to boost funding for Congress itself to avoid a “crisis.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Civil society groups and former lawmakers are calling on appropriators to boost funding for Congress itself to stem what they call a “significant loss of institutional capacity.”

Ten former lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, joined more than three dozen groups to pen letters to House and Senate appropriators asking that the Legislative Branch slice of the federal funding pie get a bit larger. Christopher Shays of Connecticut and Eva M. Clayton of North Carolina were among the former members to sign the letter, which was led by the advocacy organization Demand Progress. 

Green roof deck dreams for Hart dry up
Hopes for a roof deck atop the Hart died on the vine Tuesday after a reality check from the Architect of the Capitol

There’s not a breezy hangout spot coming to the roof of the Hart Building. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Hopes for a roof deck atop the Hart Senate Office Building for employees to enjoy died on the vine Tuesday after a reality check from the Architect of the Capitol.

It all started with a hearing on the Architect of the Capitol’s 2020 budget proposal. The line of questioning by the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee turned to energy savings, sustainable practices and a lengthy discussion on grass genotypes best suited for green roofs. 

The other AOC has big plans for 2020
The Architect of the Capitol is requesting a sizable budget boost for fiscal 2020

Acting Architect of the Capitol Christine Merdon is requesting a sizable budget boost for fiscal 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Architect of the Capitol is requesting a sizable budget boost as the agency tries to tackle massive restoration projects and fend off cybersecurity threats.

Acting Architect of the Capitol Christine Merdon submitted an $832 million request for fiscal 2020, which would be a $98 million, or 15.9 percent, increase over enacted levels.

Asbestos removal set to begin in Russell, Dirksen buildings
Work will take place overnight and not during normal work hours

Asbestos removal set to begin in the Russell and Dirksen Senate office buildings. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Architect of the Capitol will begin removing materials containing asbestos from two Senate office buildings on Saturday, with some of the work expected to continue through April.

Workers on Saturday will be removing waterproofing that contains asbestos from the northwest terrace of the Russell Building at the corner of Delaware Avenue and C Street NE and floor tiles in the Dirksen Building, according to the Senate Superintendent’s office.

Does the Capitol Dome have a leak? Not quite
Yellow buckets in Rotunda collect dripping water

The Capitol Rotunda was dripping Tuesday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

On day 32 of the longest government shutdown in modern history, it looked like an iconic symbol of American democracy had sprung a leak.

The Capitol Dome, which reaches 287 feet tall, recently underwent a $60 million restoration. But something was amiss Tuesday morning. 

Ready to manage a world-famous building and grapple with a billion-dollar backlog? This job’s for you
Hunt for new Architect of the Capitol underway

The search for a new Architect of the Capitol is underway, led by executive search firm JDG Associates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Do you like historic buildings? Are you undaunted by the prospect of working with tenants who are also your bosses and can’t seem to agree on much of anything? 

Then this job is for you.