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CVC Contract Awarded

Welcome to Campus Notebook, a new and occasional feature that will cover the entire Congressional complex. We’re open to all Capitol Hill news, from the Capitol Police to the food vendors to the Capitol Visitor Center to the legislative branch agencies — and everything in between. Tips may be sent

A $2.3 million contract to test the Capitol Visitor Center’s fire- and life-safety systems has been awarded to the McLean, Va.-based CFP Group.

[IMGCAP(1)]The Architect of the Capitol awarded the competitively bid job to CFP, a certified minority contractor, on Dec. 19. The bulk of the complicated testing is expected to conclude by the fall, and the CVC is slated for a November opening.

CFP specializes in fire-protection engineering and inspection. The company also has tested fire alarm systems at several General Services Administration facilities, according to the CFP Web site.

It’s Official. President Bush signed legislation outlining the terms of the merger between the Capitol Police and Library of Congress Police forces on Jan. 7.

The 100 or so LOC officers now are full members of the Capitol Police force. Most will become full-time officers; those who do not meet certain age, tenure and physical requirements will become civilian employees.

House Administration Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.) introduced the legislation. The merger is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, 2009.

Negative Discovery. Every so often, the Library of Congress stumbles across a historical artifact it didn’t know it had.

That happened this month, when a photography curator discovered that negatives once believed to show Ulysses

S. Grant’s inauguration or of the Grand Review of the Armies (a D.C. celebration following the end of the Civil War) were actually taken at Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration. Curator Carol Johnson first looked at the negatives after an LOC patron reported that similar-looking photos each were identified differently.

The three negatives show soldiers lining up amid a vast crowd of spectators. With only two other photos of Lincoln’s second inauguration known to exist, it’s a significant find.

“These negatives add to our knowledge of this special event,” Johnson said in a press release. “They show what that wet Saturday looked like with the massing of the crowd.”

A Private Helping Hand. Writing hundreds of budget estimates for Congress can get cumbersome, especially during a year of major reform proposals for complex issues such as health care and immigration.

To get some extra help and a new point of view, the Congressional Budget Office is bringing in experts from the private sector — something they haven’t been able to do before.

A provision in the omnibus spending bill allows the agency to bring in three people from private companies for yearlong fellowships. This way, the CBO can get the expertise it needs without requiring private-sector employees to quit their jobs, spokeswoman Melissa Merson said.

The structure was taken straight from the Government Accountability Office and also allows CBO employees to take yearlong positions in private companies.

“The idea of these exchanges is not new and the idea of getting talent from the private sector is not new,” she said. “It allows us to tap into the abilities of people who don’t want to quit their careers.”

Police Board Switch. House Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Livingood now is head of the Capitol Police Board.

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer served in the spot last year. The chief role alternates each year between the two Sergeants. The Architect of the Capitol also sits on the three-member board.

Crowd Control. Perhaps in preparation for election-time protests, the Architect of the Capitol has put out a solicitation notice seeking a contractor to create custom crowd barriers.

The barriers will be “done in welded aluminum and painted to look like weathered bronze,” according to the notice. “The handrail profile shall be a custom extrusion and the posts shall be custom casting made to simulate original bronze railing and posts at the United States Capitol building.”

Interested? Proposals are due Jan. 28.

Alphabet Saga: the Conclusion. The Office of Compliance will soon get a permanent director now that President Bush signed into law a bill that will allow one of the agency’s current employees to move into the top spot.

The bill changes a provision in the Congressional Accountability Act that prohibited current and former OOC employees from taking the agency’s top four executive positions. As the act originally was written, Deputy Executive Director Tamara Chrisler was barred from becoming the agency’s executive director.

The agency’s board of directors is expected to officially give the position to Chrisler next week, putting her at the helm of the nonpartisan agency that enforces the CAA.

For more than a year, Chrisler has served as acting executive director.

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