It appears Charlie Dent's staff is a loyal bunch.
The Lehigh Valley congressman holds on to more of his congressional staff than all but one Pennsylvania lawmaker and nearly all of his U.S. House colleagues, according to a study by the Sunlight Foundation.
Dent's staff retention is in the top 20 of all U.S. representatives, maintaining 87.5 percent of his employees from the third quarter of 2009 through the third quarter of 2011. He's in the top four of all House Republicans.
The only other Pennsylvanians in the top 20 are Philadelphia Democrats U.S. Rep. Bob Brady with 90.5 percent and U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah with 87.5 percent. On the opposite end, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, also a Democrat, is the only Pennsylvanian in the bottom 20; in the same time period she retained just 35.7 percent of her staff.
Collin Long, Dent's spokesman, said half of the 16-person staff have worked for the Congressman since he took office in 2005.
"Truthfully, I’m not surprised by Charlie’s high retention rate. He has created an environment in which everyone on staff understands their work is meaningful and valued," Long said. "Charlie has also focused on building a team with deep roots in the 15th District, and tends to advance and promote from within. Because of this, I bet we have a greater sense of commitment and pride than what you’d discover in other Congressional offices."
The Sunlight Foundation, the nonpartisan, nonprofit that promotes government transparency, wrote this of its study:
As far as we know, this is the first time anybody has calculated turnover rates for House offices. We believe this is important data for citizens to have. Members of Congress cannot do their jobs without staff, and members who preside over high-turnover offices are likely to be less effective as legislators and may have a more difficult time performing efficient constituent service. Moreover, offices with higher turnover are likely to be more reliant on lobbyists to help them analyze and draft legislation, since there will be fewer experienced staff.
Some turnover in all offices is certainly healthy and natural. New blood is always good. But too much turnover can be a dangerous thing, too.
You can read the full report here.
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