New Deputy Clerk Would Oversee Page Program
The House Page Board voted Thursday evening to create a new Deputy Clerk to oversee and manage the House Page Program. The decision comes straight from a suggestion in a recent Inspector General’s report on the supervision of the page dorm, Page Board Chairman Dale Kildee (D-Mich.) said, although that report is still not being released to the public because of security and privacy concerns. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) asked the IG to do the investigation after two House pages were expelled last fall for allegedly engaging in oral sex on the building’s elevator. The new Deputy Clerk will act as the point person for the operations of the page program, Kildee said, getting constant reports from the supervisors at the page school, the dorm and the House floor. Although a staffer in the Office of the Clerk already is assigned to the program, the Deputy Clerk position will have more power and more responsibility, he said. That person will also help keep the board informed. “We still are the policy board,” he said. “We can make good policy if we know who to turn to.” It’s unclear when the position will be filled and how much it will cost. The House Administration Committee and the House Appropriations Committee will have to figure out the nuts and bolts in the coming weeks, Kildee said. The board also voted to enact all the IG’s recommendations, including one to write a new visitor policy for adult employees who live at the page dorm. The report found that no such policies existed. These reforms were spurred after four pages were expelled last fall, two for shoplifting and two for engaging in public sex acts, according to several sources. Those expulsions eventually led Reps. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) to resign from their positions on the Page Board, with the two Members publicly complaining that the program was flawed and improperly managed. Boehner has said that he is waiting to appoint two new Republican Members to the House Page Board until accusations are investigated and problems are tackled. But Boehner’s office has been represented at every meeting since, Kildee said, and all sides have worked together well.