As our newly elected Congresswoman, Kristi Noem is spending the week doing her Congressional orientation, the work has begun to fill staff positions in her new office. As a former Capitol Hill staffer, I have some thoughts on what Rep Noem (heck all the rest of the freshman class too) should be looking for when making those hiring decisions.
Most important Staff job – obviously is Chief of Staff. Qualities that I’d recommend in a CoS — This is a position where previous experience is going to be critical. The new Rep is already working on a big learning curve and Washington can be very overwhelming, it would be very helpful to have someone with experience at the helm of the office. This must be a person the Rep. can absolutely trust to carry out the directives and goals of the Rep — after all it’s the Rep who answers to voters. The CoS should also be the person who regularly communicates those goals and values to the rest of the staff and ensures the office is conducting their jobs in a way that is consistent with the priorities of the Rep. The CoS helps the Rep stay true to their core values by being a sounding board for the Rep and the staff.
In my personal opinion, the CoS has to be the bad cop for the office as well….the enforcer role shouldn’t be left to the Rep. It’s also nice if the CoS comes from or has close ties to the home district.
In short — an ideal CoS is someone who has experience, an ability to lead the office and be loyal to the Rep.
Is the CoS sometimes smarter or better qualified to serve than the actual member — I think there are many CoS who secretly believe this to be true — but the bottom line a good CoS knows — they aren’t the person whose name is on the ballot.
Next up — scheduler