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The Congressional Accountability Act, the interpretations of the Office of Compliance on how fire codes should be applied to the Capitol campus, the aging infrastructure of our priceless and unique historic buildings, the changed expectations of the American public, all mean that the AOC must continue to change and improve its methods of operations, that we have to retrain our workers, hire some key new ones, address the tasks at hand in new and safer ways.
While we contract out many of our major projects and some of our technical needs, we still need to have the proper internal resources to adequately manage and coordinate this work. We have been working hard to hire the fire safety professionals we need to help our Fire Marshal and Executive Director of Facilities Management accomplish their tasks. We are similarly actively and aggressively recruiting the people we need to serve as jurisdictional life safety experts and coordinators, and the right construction management professionals for the many major tasks that must be successfully accomplished (see Appendix I).
The 48 additional positions we request this year are people who must be put in place to prepare our workforce for the future. They are so essential that we have already begun the hiring process, but need funding to continue paying these key personnel in successive years without having to make further cuts in shop staffing levels in all jurisdictions
These include five positions to support fire safety programs; eight positions to support environmental and life safety programs; five for the campus energy savings program required by Section 310 of the 1999 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act.
We also need 19 persons to implement high priority programs. These positions include the two necessary to support preparation and issuance of auditable financial statements. AOC has been working with GAO on this, and one of things we have discovered is that AOC has never been staffed assure appropriate separation of functions necessary to maintain proper internal controls, nor enough staff to prepare and reconcile monthly and annual auditable financial statements (see Appendix G). Seven more positions are to improve the project delivery process. Like most government agencies, AOC has to manage far more external contracts and work than in the past, and like most government agencies, AOC does not have enough people in place to manage outside contractors properly. We are also dead last in the Legislative Branch in percentage of our staff dedicated to Intelligence Technology efforts.
We need two more air conditioning mechanics at the Library of Congress to safeguard its priceless collections by maintaining proper conditions for storage. Three additional workers are needed at the Capitol Power Plant. And at the Botanic Garden, which has been closed for a number of years, with the Conservatory scheduled to reopen staff are required to operate and maintain the facility.
Like the rest of federa: governmert, AOC is responding to the crisis in numa? caçta by request-g these 48 essential positions for Fiscal Year 2002.
Once again, I am proud of our accomplishments in so many craical areas, much of www.ch is documented in the attached appendices*. While there is much left to address in the coming years, we look forward to working with you as we successfully face those challenges and continue to provide strorg support to the Congress and build an even stronger and responsive AOC.
I thank you for your support and welcome whatever questions or comments you might have
Appendix A: Initiatives in Life Safety
The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) has made safety the agency's number one priority. In the past year, the AOC has undertaken significant steps to strengthen the fire, occupational and environmental safety programs. However, much work remains to be done. An additional thirteen (13) FY02 positions are requested and are in the process of being filled now to better enable the AOC to develop and implement fire, occupational, and environmental safety programs and make necessary facility upgrades to comply with fire and building codes.
In FY02, thirty (30) projects totaling over $14.5M are requested under the Life Safety Category to address identified fire and/or occupational safety deficiencies across the Capitol Complex. An additional $362K is being requested (see: Capitol Buildings Salaries and Expenses Operating Budget Life Safety Operations and Maintenance section) to cover needed environmental contractor services as well as increases in cost of fire safety and occupational safety and health program management.
I. Fire Safety
The Fire Marshal Division was created in FY0I to focus on fire safety, life safety, and emergency preparedness program policy, coordination, inspection, and oversight. Fire protection engineering design responsibilities are being transferred to the re-established Fire Protection Engineering Division under the Director of Engineering. The AOC is working closely with the Office of Compliance to identify fire and building code concerns and raise the Capitol complex buildings to modern standards of safety.
Significant progress has been made and is detailed in Section I.
As part of our continuing commitment to fire safety program needs, the AOC has begun hiring to fill FY02 funded vacancies to ensure adequate staff is available to perform needed work. Full funding of fire related FY02 requests is essential to the AOC's ability to continue to improve the fire safety posture and programs across the Capitol complex.
II. Occupational Health and Safety
The Life Safety Division was restructured and renamed the Safety and Environmental Division in FY01 to focus on occupational health and safety, recycling, and environmental program policy, coordination, inspection, and oversight. When fully staffed, two branches will exist - the Safety and Occupational Health Branch and the Environmental Branch.
Environmental Safety is discussed in Section IV below.
Significant progress has been made and is detailed in Section II.
As part of our continuing commitment to occupational safety program needs, the AOC has begun hiring to fill FY02 funded vacancies to ensure adequate staff is available to perform needed work. Full funding of FY02 requests is essential to the AOC's ability to continue to improve the occupational safety posture and programs across the Capitol complex.
Additional emphasis was provided to the AOC Recycling program in FY01 by creation of a GS-13 Recycling Program Manager position to coordinate campus wide recycling effort. The House Office Buildings recycling program has made significant improvements including hiring a Recycling Program Manager, a Recycling Assistant and a recycling team. New recycling containers are being distributed to Members offices and training is being provided. The Senate recycling program has made significant improvements as well including hiring a Recycling Program Manager and working with the Senate Rules Committee on proposed changes. More information can be found in Section III.
IV. Environmental Safety
The AOC is required to comply with Environmental Protection Agency Laws and Statutes as enforced by the District of Columbia. The development of the Environmental program and the analysis and survey requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency and District of Columbia laws and regulations has not begun due to difficulties filling the environmental engineer vacancy. Filling of the environmental engineer position remains a top priority as attention must be given to environmental matters. Additional contractor support money has been requested to begin the detailed program review and development associated with all aspects of the Environmental Program. Full funding is requested to ensure compliance with environmental regulations. A more detailed discussion can be found in Section IV.
A brief summary is provided in Section V.
Architect of the Capitol
The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) has made safety his number one priority. In the past year, the AOC has undertaken significant steps to strengthen the fire, occupational and environmental safety programs. The AOC has reorganized the Executive Office for Facilities Management to allow increased attention and focus on fire safety, life safety, occupational health and safety, recycling, and environmental programs. Two separate Divisions have been created under the Executive Officer for Facilities Management.
The Fire Marshall Division focuses on fire safety, life safety, and emergency preparedness program policy, coordination, inspection, and oversight.
The Safety and Environmental Division focuses on occupational health and safety, recycling, and environmental program policy, coordination, inspection, and oversight.
Fire protection engineering design responsibilities have transferred to the re-established Fire Protection Engineering Division under the Director of Engineering.
This structure separates policy, oversight, and inspection from design and implementation- providing a necessary check and balance system and allowing concentration on project design and execution.
Agency wide, significant resources have been applied to the fire safety, occupational health and safety programs. The AOC has aggressively addressed fire safety concerns by dedicating resources to design of systems, correction of specific deficiencies, renovation and construction projects, and implementing National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) testing, inspection and maintenance programs. In many cases, jurisdictions have redirected resources from customer service to address fire safety issues, as a result, customer service has suffered temporarily. FY02 will see continued emphasis on fire safety as well as increased emphasis on occupational safety and environmental program implementation which will further strain limited existing resources.
Because safety is the AOC's top priority, the AOC is hiring now to fill FY02 safety related vacancies within Fire Marshal and Safety and Environmental Divisions and across the jurisdictions. By achieving FY02 staffing levels as soon as possible, the AOC will be better able to identify, address, and correct safety related concerns as well as implement new safety related programs across the Capitol complex.