Who are the best and worst bosses on Capitol Hill?
When legislative assistant Chris Crowe asked for a letter of recommendation to the Treasury from longtime Chief of Staff Murat Gokcigdem, Mrs. Johnson’s top staffer instead wrote that Mr. Crowe, who is gay, “performed his duties to somewhat satisfactory level” but the Treasury must be considering him only because gays in the administration were “watching and supporting each other, if you know what I mean.”
Rep. Betty Sutton, Ohio Democrat, had nine employees handle media in less than three years, and former staffers call her “harsh,” according to The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. They point out that a member becomes less effective if she can’t retain staff because expertise is lost.
Mrs. Sutton, who lost her re-election bid last year, responded that her employees were consistently poached by other employers because of their skills. The vast majority left Congress altogether instead of moving to other offices, The Times analysis showed.
Some staffers have had the “luxury” of working for two difficult bosses, at least according to the numbers.
Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, California Democrat, reportedly fired an aide for leaving a box of candy on her chair and demanded that aides never walk in front of her. When Ms. Millender-McDonald died of cancer, the Compton-area district was represented by Rep. Laura Richardson, but Millender-McDonald’s chief of staff and others remained.
The House Ethics Committee then found Ms. Richardson guilty of violating rules that prohibit pressuring her staff to perform campaign work and personal errands and recommended a reprimand and $10,000 fine.
Rep. Brad Sherman, a California Democrat who was voted second “meanest” House member in a Washingtonian magazine survey of House staffers, had a nearly 50 percent annual turnover rate for several years in a row. Press secretary is among the positions in flux, but Don MacDonald said his boss was friendly and accessible.
Mr. MacDonald, who has 15 years of experience on Capitol Hill, is now chief of staff, a position typically occupied for many years. He is following predecessors who departed in 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, more frequently than any other member, records show.
“Each one of them left for a very specific reason. One moved to Los Angeles. A lot of them left to make more money,” he said.
Rep. Tim Murphy, Pennsylvania Republican, has a 42 percent average turnover rate, peaking at 64 percent in 2006, the year Jayne O’Shaughnessy, a 63-year-old scheduler for Mr. Murphy, was fired after she and five other staffers told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Mr. Murphy routinely forced office staffers to perform campaign work.
“He would just flip out,” Ms. O’Shaughnessy said.
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