Through the Office of the Clerk, newly-elected Members should have the option to hire and pay one transition staff member for the duration of the time between when they are elected and sworn in.
When Members are elected to the House, they can bring one ‘‘designated aide’’ with them to the official House orientation. However, these aides are not paid and do not receive benefits from the House during the transition period. As a result, new Members struggle to hire qualified individuals to assist them during the transition. Given the multitude of tasks to be done and decisions to be made that have direct impact on their constituents, those without staff are at an extreme disadvantage. The Committee determined that paying a ‘‘designated aide’’ and allowing them to receive benefits can improve the transition process for new Members as they begin serving their constituents.
“Currently, Members-elect are left with the options of persuading someone to work pro bono for them during this transition period or to pay them out of campaign funds. Neither option is a good option. Finding someone willing to work for free for two months often means that Members-elect are forced to rely on aides who are affordable but not really up to the task. Ideally, the person they hire to do this critical transition work should become the Chief of Staff or District Director. However, that is often not the case.”
Richard Shapiro, July 11, 2019
The Committee recommends these hires are made though the Office of the Clerk. Furthermore, this will bring the House in line with the Senate practice of paying for a transition aide. In the long-run, having a transition aide will provide a smoother onboarding process, and encourage staff retention by paying staff for the period between Election Day and Members’ swearing-in.