Campus Notebook: Tsk, Tsk, Tsk

Posted July 14, 2008 at 6:21pm

Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse received overwhelmingly negative criticism from officers who participated in a survey commissioned by the Capitol Police Labor Committee.

[IMGCAP(1)]Of the more than 300 officers who took part in the anonymous survey, over 90 percent said the chief is unwilling to respond to conditions and problems that officers face everyday. Eighty-nine percent said the relationship between management and members of the department has become “adversarial, reducing trust and communications between officers and management.”

The 300 officers represent about one-third of the union’s members.

“It’s the opinion of the membership,” said Matt Tighe, chairman of the Capitol Police Labor Committee. “Basically, we’re just giving the average officer a chance to express their views with what’s going on with management.”

The survey, posted on July 1 and left open for two weeks, came after the department revealed that it asked 15 recruits to resign because they didn’t pass background, physical or psychological tests.

Tighe credits a rash of media attention focusing on department morale for the survey. Consisting of 11 questions, it asks, for example, about the chief’s willingness to admit shortcomings as well as employment conditions.

Tighe, who is scheduled to testify before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee later this week, said the Capitol Police Labor Committee has yet to decide what to do with the survey. Earlier this month there had been talk of a no-confidence vote in Morse, though Tighe says this has not yet been decided.

“There has been no decision made on a no-confidence vote,” Tighe said. “The results will be discussed at the next meeting on July 24.”

El Lector de la Cámara. A Hispanic will serve as the House’s reading clerk for the first time after Jaime Zapata was named by Clerk of the House Lorraine Miller to succeed Mary Kevin Niland, who was recently promoted to deputy chief of legislative operations in the Clerk’s office.

Zapata, a spokesman for the House Small Business Committee, will take over his new role July 28.

“As reading clerk, Jaime will be the voice of the House of Representatives and will play an integral role in the daily operations of Congress,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said.

“It is a historic moment for Hispanics across the country, as they will now have a sense of pride when they tune in to C-SPAN and see someone from our community playing an integral part in the proceedings of the United States Congress,” said Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Emily Yehle and Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

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