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House Appropriators Withhold $20 Million From CAO

House appropriators decided Thursday to withhold $20 million from Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard, outlining several requirements for him to meet before getting his full budget.

The move comes days after the release of a House Inspector General report that cited low morale, miscommunication and turnover in the CAO’s Office of Payroll & Benefits and Office of Financial Counseling.

To receive the $20 million, Beard’s office will have to develop a user satisfaction survey for those divisions, install better wireless service on the House side of the Capitol Visitor Center and hold regular meetings with major stakeholders. The Chiefs of Staff Association has complained in recent months that Beard’s office has been uncooperative in listening to staffers’ feedback.

The provision was included in the fiscal 2011 legislative branch appropriations bill, which the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch approved Thursday. Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) originally set out to withhold $10 million, but ranking member Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) offered an amendment to raise the amount to $20 million.

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