Comptroller General David Walker officially wraps up his decade-long stint as head of the Government Accountability Office today.
Walker now heads to the private sector to serve as president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a new group that will work to solve the nation’s economic woes, from budget deficits to increasing health care costs.
[IMGCAP(1)]It is Walker’s ongoing call for economic responsibility that he likely will be best remembered for in his time as Comptroller General. Walker traveled around the country on his “Fiscal Wake-Up Tour,” spreading the word about the need to tackle the government’s growing deficit.
But GAO employees probably will remember Walker most for his restructuring of the agency’s pay structure into a market-based, performance-driven system.
While Walker has said the new system is needed to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, it has drawn the ire of GAO analysts, who called it unfair and formed the agency’s first-ever union as a result.
But Walker expects the new pay structure will be maintained at the agency.
“Just because I’m going doesn’t mean the leadership of this agency [isn’t] committed to a market-based, skills- and knowledge-oriented system. We are of one mind on that,” he told Roll Call last month. “Anything other than that is not in the interest of the taxpayer.”
Chief Operating Officer Gene Dodaro now takes over as acting Comptroller General.
Completing the CVC. With testing of the Capitol Visitor Center’s fire- and life-safety systems continuing on schedule, the Architect of the Capitol is moving ahead with preparations for the $621 million facility’s grand debut.
One notable development: All of the construction trailers that sat on the grassy oval on the East Front grounds have been removed, and landscape crews are now preparing to level the area’s grade so sod placements and plantings can go in this spring.
AOC officials also have begun to further publicize the CVC’s amenities, with the agency posting several CVC-related items on its Web site this week, including one document that specifically highlights the CVC’s “Out of Many, One” exhibit.
That exhibit tells the story of Congress and the Capitol through rarely seen documents and artifacts and a 10-foot touchable model of the Capitol Dome. (On a related note, installation of the Dome is scheduled to begin next week.)
Another document looks at environmentally friendly elements of the CVC, including its storm-water management system, which is designed to mitigate runoff and sediment into the city’s sewer system, and the facility’s air-side economizer, which uses outside air for cooling when the outdoor temperature is 60 degrees and below.
AOC officials also posted a presolicitation notice on March 7 for a “Point of Sale, Inventory and Accounting System” for the CVC’s two gift shops. The full solicitation will be available online on March 31, according to the notice.
Expect more CVC news later this week — the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch is scheduled to hold its monthly oversight hearing on the facility’s progress today.
Hearing Rescheduled. Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard, Clerk Lorraine Miller and House Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Livingood are slated to present their budget requests to the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch on Thursday.
That hearing originally had been slated to take place last month, but it was delayed after memorial services for the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) were scheduled to take place at the same time.