Without Explanation, CVC Seeks New Deputy CEO

Posted October 13, 2009 at 6:23pm

The Architect of the Capitol is replacing the deputy CEO of the Capitol Visitor Center, but officials are staying silent on why Maurice Parrish is being pushed out of the position less than one year after the CVC’s opening.

The deputy CEO is the No. 2 official for the CVC, working under CEO Terri Rouse and helping with the “overall operation— of the center, according to a job listing posted last month. That includes preparing budgets, overseeing contractors and handling Member requests.

Parrish has held the position since the beginning of 2008, after spending 17 years in various positions at the Detroit Institute of Arts, including a stint as the executive vice president.

Last month, officials posted his position online, and Tuesday was the application deadline.

CVC spokesman Tom Fontana declined to comment directly on the changes or on when the position will be filled, citing a policy to not discuss “personnel issues.— In an e-mail, he instead outlined Parrish’s responsibilities, indicating a change in the deputy CEO’s job description.

The CVC, he said, is transitioning “from a start-up operation into a fully operational facility.— While the recent job posting emphasizes the oversight of day-to-day operations, Fontana tied Parrish’s role to the CVC’s opening and construction.

“The chief goals of the Deputy CEO for Visitor Services in the months leading up to the opening date were to develop initial operating plans and to implement a hiring program that would ensure there would be adequate staff to manage and operate the Capitol Visitor Center upon its opening last December,— he said. “Additionally, the Deputy CEO has been responsible for communicating with the CVC construction team to ensure that the remaining punchlist activities would be accomplished with minimal disruption to CVC operations and the Congress.—

Several sources familiar with the move said Parrish will be reassigned as a “special assistant— to Rouse. Fontana declined to comment on whether that was the case, but he said Parrish will continue to work on some of the same issues he handles as deputy CEO.

“Having successfully managed these initiatives thus far,— he said, “Mr. Parrish will now be working on the strategic planning objectives for the next phase of operations.—

Parrish’s replacement will get a salary from $125,000 to $155,000, according to the recent posting on an employment Web site for the federal government. Parrish’s salary is not available publicly, but keeping him on staff — in what is ostensibly a newly created position — would mean added personnel costs.

Such staffing decisions, however, do not usually have to go through Congressional oversight committees, which primarily focus on larger budget issues. A spokesman for the Senate Rules and Administration Committee declined to comment on “personnel matters,— while a spokesman for the House Administration Committee said the AOC isn’t required to clear such moves with the committee.