Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard has decided to hire a new director of payroll and benefits, a few weeks after the House Inspector General began examining the office’s finance divisions.
In a press release Friday, Beard announced that the current director, Chantel Greene, would become the director of business operations and analysis.
“Chantel helped us take a department that, when I came on board three years ago, was in need of improvements and turned it into an organization that, today, is receiving high marks for its low error rates, operational efficiencies and customer satisfaction ratings,” he said. “While we are excited for these changes we recognize there is always room for improvement and we don’t plan to rest on our laurels; we are committed to continuing our progress.”
But the announcement comes on the heels of complaints from Member offices about the high turnover within the Office of Payroll and Benefits and the Office of Financial Counseling. The Chiefs of Staff Association has complained that financial and payroll counselors — who were once assigned to the same offices for a two-year Congressional session — are now reassigned “arbitrarily.” The payroll and benefits office also spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on temporary employees; currently 15 of 43 employees are contractors.
The House Administration Committee asked the House IG to examine the office, and a report is expected out soon.
But in Friday’s press release, CAO officials pointed to improvements under Greene that include the “strengthening of an already-established education and training program for staff” and a “self-service” internal website for Congressional staffers to learn about payroll processes.
A similar training program will be implemented for financial counseling, according to the press release. That office handles the reimbursement vouchers of Members and staff — a function that has gotten recent complaints for delays. The new program will include a monthly seminar for payroll and financial administrators and a web-based training program.
“Expanding and strengthening our training program for financial staff and the renewed focus on creating useful online resources for our end users will allow us to make both these departments the best practice organizations we know they can be,” Deputy CAO Ali Qureshi said in the release. “We are committed to going from better to best.”