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Putnam Plugs in Staff Gaps

Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) is betting that a handful of promotions and new hires will help compensate for the recent departures of two valued staffers.

One Lakeland, Fla., native will trade places with another when Andrea Becker moves up to executive assistant, a position occupied for the past four years by Chanel Dedes, who is returning to her hometown to become director of external affairs at Florida Southern College. Dedes originally joined Putnam’s office as a staff assistant.

Becker, who served as staff assistant for one year before her promotion, is a 2004 graduate of the University of Florida, where she majored in political science. [IMGCAP(1)]

Putnam has also lost his communications director, Shawn Dhar, to the Brookings Institution, where he will serve as communications adviser. Prior to joining Putnam’s staff, Dhar served as director of media relations for the House Republican Conference, chaired by then-Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.).

Joining Putnam’s staff as legislative correspondent is Brooke McKnight of Tampa, Fla., formerly the legislative assistant to Florida state Rep. Rich Glorioso (R). While serving as legislative correspondent, McKnight will be kept busy as she pursues her master’s in political management from George Washington University. In 2004 she earned her bachelor’s in history from the University of South Florida.

Taking Becker’s place as staff assistant is Katie Bell, who grew up in Babson

Park, Fla., located in Putnam’s district. Previously, she served as campaign manager in 2004 for Florida state Rep. Marty Bowen (R).

Hoyer Hires New Press Secretary. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has named Tim Schlittner, former deputy press secretary to Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), as his new Maryland press secretary.

“I’m very pleased that Tim has joined our team,” Hoyer said in a statement. “He brings a strong knowledge of communications and the invaluable experience of working with district media.”

While a member of Harman’s staff, Schlittner fielded the Congresswoman’s radio requests, worked closely with local publications, and helped implement Harman’s inaugural e-newsletter program.

Hoyer said this experience should translate into a strong showing for Schlittner in the Maryland press office. “The addition of Tim will help continue my strong working relationship with the media in Maryland’s 5th District,” Hoyer said.

Prior to his work on Capitol Hill, Schlittner aided former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt’s (D-Mo.) 2004 presidential campaign and worked with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

A native of Tinton Falls, N.J., Schlittner is a graduate of Syracuse University, where he earned degrees in broadcast journalism and political science.