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CVC Executive Stepping Down

Less than two months after Bob Hixon retired from his position as the Architect of the Capitol’s right-hand man in charge of the Capitol Visitor Center’s construction, his replacement also has decided to step down from the post, adding further complication to an already much-maligned project. [IMGCAP(1)]

Doug Jacobs took over as project executive when Hixon retired at the end of March after three years in the post. He worked under Hixon and has been with the CVC team since before Congress ceremonially broke ground on the project seven years ago.

One Capitol Hill source said Jacobs is “stepping down from the project executive position but will continue to be actively involved with the CVC.” While multiple officials confirmed Jacobs was stepping down, none would discuss the reasons for his decision.

An AOC official, speaking on Jacobs’ behalf, said Monday “Mr. Jacobs isn’t leaving the project. He continues to play a key role in the CVC project.”

Jacobs’ decision to step down comes less than three months after the Government Accountability Office released a report stating the ongoing turnover in senior leadership at the AOC could be adversely affecting the agency’s implementation of better management procedures.

The report noted nine leadership positions at the AOC were filled in the past 12 months — mostly due to retirements and resignations.

While the nine recently hired managers “can bring new energy and ideas to the agency, the introduction of so many new managers within a short period makes it challenging to integrate them into the AOC while sustaining the progress made thus far” toward better management practices, the report stated. “The turnover in AOC’s senior leadership over the past year resulted in a loss of leadership continuity, institutional knowledge, and expertise — a loss that could adversely affect AOC’s ability to continue its progress, at least in the short term.”

According to the report, acting Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers “identified the CVC as one of the agency’s major challenges to becoming more strategic and accountable, because the CVC requires significant management attention that could otherwise be focused on AOC’s transformation initiatives.”

When Hixon retired, some House overseers, including Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), strongly encouraged Ayers to find a way to keep Hixon — who had been with the AOC since 2004 — on the site through completion or hire him back as a private contractor after he leaves.

But at a CVC hearing in mid-March, Ayers assured House Members that Jacobs had been working “very closely with Mr. Hixon on the transition to this new role as project executive,” he said. “I have every confidence in Mr. Jacobs and will work very closely with him to complete this historic project.”

Jacobs previously served as the AOC’s principal liaison between Congressional offices, architectural firm RTKL Associates Inc., the Capitol Police and other contractors. As project executive he was directly responsible for the pace of construction and contractors’ progress.

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