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Mr. Hoekstra. All right. I've got a couple of other areas, but I'm just going to go into one area, one more. Your largest administrative cost is employee salaries and benefits. You've got about what did you say? 149 employees? Is it accurate that two-thirds of these employees are at a GS-12 or higher level?

Ms. Alexander. Yes.

Mr. Hoekstra. So 109 of them are earning over SA7,000 per year and that 56 of them actually earn over $70,000 per year?

Ms. Alexander. If I may clarify for you?

Mr. Hoekstra. Sure, absolutely.

Ms. Alexander. We had a major reduction in force, as you may remember, a year ago, in which we had to reduce the staff by 45 percent. In doing so, as you probably know, in Civil Service here, the people who have had their jobs for the longest amount of time are the ones who get to keep them. And so there had been many employees who had been at the agency for a long time, and they are at that career level.

Mr. Hoekstra. You also stated in your budget request that your staff is stretched thin, correct?

Ms. Alexander. Yes.

Mr. Hoekstra. As a result of the downsizing and those activities? Do you have any employees that are currently detailed to other agencies?

Ms. Alexander. Yes, we do. We have one that is detailed to the Quality Management Institute. And we have one who is detailed to the White House. Her detail will be up in June, and she will be back at the agency after that.

Mr. Hoekstra. So you only have two detailees?

Ms. Alexander. At this time, yes.

Mr. Hoekstra. Okay. The person that's working at the White House, what is she doing at the White House?

Ms. Alexander. She's in the Office of Personnel. After the election, the White House asked, as they have a number of the agencies, if they would detail one person to them for this transition period.

Mr. Hoekstra. How does that work relate to what's going on at the National Endowment for the Arts?

Ms. Alexander. Well, right now it doesn't, but she will be back at work. This we do as a service to the administration.

Mr. Hoekstra. And who is paying her salary?

Ms. Alexander. The National Endowment for the Arts.

Mr. Hoekstra. Is she also the second highest paid employee at the National Endowment for the Arts?

Ms. Alexander. Yes.

Mr. Hoekstra. And what did she do at the National

Ms. Alexander. This is a service we provide

Mr. Hoekstra. What's that?

Ms. Alexander. This is a service we provide to the White House, and many agencies do as well.

Mr. Hoekstra. And what did she do at the National Endowment for the Arts?

Ms. Alexander. She was head of our Office of Enterprise Development.

Mr. Hoekstra. Which does what?

Ms. Alexander. At Congress' request, we were seeking ways for supplemental and alternative funding for arts in America and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Mr. Hoekstra. So at a time when we are looking at perhaps a decrease in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, some would say, as Mr. Armey would say, that there was agreement not to fund the National Endowment for the Arts-we have an Office of Enterprise Development, which you can collect private donations; is that not correct, for the work that you perform?

Ms. Alexander. We can collect them. We don't have authorization to solicit and invest funds.

Mr. Hoekstra. Okay. I think it's the Library of Congress has the authorization. They raise significant funds. Have you raised any money or much?

Ms. Alexander. Money has come in to us. In 1996, we had gifts of almost a million dollars, which very often were in partnership with programs that we were doing. For example

Mr. Hoekstra. But in light of what was happening with the National Endowment for the Arts, the agency or the office that was empowered to do the kind of work to build grass roots support and raise or get private funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, you decide to transfer the second highest paid person from the National Endowment for the Arts and bring them to the White House; is that correct, with no work at all or benefit to the National Endowment for the Arts, and you pay her salary?

Ms. Alexander. As I say, that is at the request of the administration, and it is not unusual.

Mr. Hoekstra. If it's the request of the administration, does that mean that the administration does not support the work that's being done at the National Endowment for the Arts?

Ms. Alexander. The administration absolutely supports the work. And, by the way, the Office of Enterprise
Development is still very well-served by the assistant in charge.

Let me point out, though, we did a significant amount of work already in looking into what we could do legally in the Office of Enterprise Development and without authority to solicit and invest funds, there's not an awful lot of fund-raising that we're able to do. We have to wait for people to come to us. We have to then talk to them about things and if they want to be involved in a cooperative agreement.

Mr. Hoekstra. Would you like broader authorization to solicit?

Ms. Alexander. Absolutely.

Mr. Hoekstra. And if we gave you broader authorization to solicit, would you say to the White House, “No. I want my person back so that she can actually go solicit and do the job that Congress appropriated"?

Ms. Alexander. Her detail is only allowed to be six months, and we're going to be very happy to have her back.

Mrs. Mink Mr. Chairman?

Mr. Hoekstra. Thank you. Ms. Mink?

Mrs. Mink. Well, I was just inquiring as to how long your five minutes was going to take.

Mr. Hoekstra. My green light is still on.

Mr. Roemer. I think that's my green light, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Hoekstra. Is that your green light? Well, I thank the gentleman from Indiana for being so generous, but

Mr. Roemer. Mr. Chairman, I know you were saying you have a weak gavel, but I'm sure that you have a long clock there that we have all been waiting on to get our time in here.

Mr. Hoekstra. All right. Mr. Roemer?

Mr. Roemer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ms. Alexander, I want to say that I come at this personally a little bit differently than the panel that even preceded you. We had some people out there on that panel who were saying we have to dismantle this National Endowment for the Arts, no matter what it does. We had other members saying that we will support it, no matter what it does.

Certainly I come at this issue as somebody sent to represent the people from Indiana, where we certainly appreciate the arts. We appreciate the importance of the arts in educating our children and the civility and the culture that we leave on for our citizens of this great country.

And my citizens also demand accountability, and they want to make sure that we're funding some of the kinds of obscene things that took place prior to your reign, prior to your I think dedication to not only funding the arts projects but also trying to get better accountability in the system.

And I think you fought hard to do that for the last four years. And you're one of the reasons why I continue to vote to support the National Endowment for the Arts. I think you've done an extraordinary job.

As I talked with my colleagues prior to this hearing, certainly as a student of history, we look at the role of government and the role of popes and the role of religion in supporting our arts. I believe it was Pope Julius that had the relationship with Michelangelo and others to build the historic works of art throughout Italy.

We look across the street at our wonderful capital, where we also had an Italian artist come and do some of the most magnificent art work in our nation's history. And our constituents that we bring in marvel at that art work and really appreciate the dedication of the artist and the importance of our capital because of it.

We look across the street at the Library of Congress, which has just recently been renovated, and see this dedication and this importance in this artistry in one of our most important buildings, the Thomas Jefferson building.

I think our constituents want accountability. They want to make sure that we don't support some of these obscene works of art but that places like South Bend, Indiana have money for the symphony so that the symphony can go into our high schools and work with our local high schools to maybe come up with the next conductor for our local symphony, where you currently fund that program, where we have funded in the past the Bristol Opera House. Bristol is one of my smallest towns, a rural community that now has access to opera and plays for three or four months out of the year in an historic building, in due part because of your work.

I guess my question, Ms. Alexander, is that I want to know a little bit more about how we continue to have accountability in the National Endowment for the Arts. You list here as ways by which you make sure that we try not to fund some of these projects that are deemed obscene in the future you prohibit now making grants to most individual artists, seasonal support grants or subgrants to third party organizations. All applicants apply for specific project support. And all grantees must file interim and final reports.

Do you believe that this is going to continue to provide the accountability that we need to see so people in Indiana in rural communities and hopefully throughout the country can continue to have confidence that when they send their taxpayer money to you and to the National Endowment and you send it out to the states that there's local accountability and boards that will try to make sure that these funds are not going to those kinds of projects?

Ms. Alexander. I do think that the agency is concerned with accountability more so than it's ever been in addressing accountability in the ways that you have pointed out and also in our panels.

Our panels, again, are the heart of the system of the National Endowment for the Arts. They are representative of Americans everywhere. They are private citizens. There are lay people on the panels, people who do not make their living at the arts but do know something about it. And we have had the good fortune to have the wives of two of our prominent senators as lay people on our panels recently, and they were very contributive.

We feel, then, that through this panel system, fairness, excellence, diversity are addressed and the concerns of Americans everywhere, such as those in your district.

Mr. Roemer. I thank you.

And I would just conclude, Mr. Chairman, by saying that there was a fascinating conference at the White House about two weeks ago on early childhood development. And at a time when in this country we are now finding huge new potential for our nation's children to invest in them, the importance of art, the importance of music, the importance of both of those components in helping children learn both about math and a host of other subjects, how in the world can we now be talking about eliminating one of the few government agencies that leverages money in the private sector, that continues to work with developing our nation's children in ways by which we're just scratching the surface today and in ways by which we leave the rich heritage of art and civility and culture to the future of this country? I think that we need to continue to have accountability.

I hope that after your four years are over, that you will hopefully be appointed or considered to be appointed again, that you continue to stress this accountability for us and for taxpayers that come at this issue, not from one side or the other, but strong supporters of art, but also accountability and reaching out for our children to make sure that they have exposure to what is such a rich heritage and a rich tradition in this great country.

And I thank you for the superb job you're doing. Keep up the good work. And we'll continue to try to have members who are moderate Democrats and Republicans continue to support your efforts.

Ms. Alexander. Thank you, Mr. Congressman.

If I may just point out our recent book for early childhood introduction to the arts for parents and teachers? And we're also concerned with early childhood. We have a number of books and research in that area.

Mr. Hoekstra. Great. Thank you. Mr. Castle?

Mr. Castle. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Sort of following along in the lines of Mr. Roemer, with whom I always agree except for one amendment last week, I would say I think you have done a wonderful job. I think your tenacity has been great in this area. You deserve a lot of credit.

And I am a strong believer, as I think I have already exhibited earlier, in the arts. And I think there should be a federal role. I think it's pure nonsense to say that there's a constitutional issue here. All the states are even collectively more involved in this than the federal government is. I think all of that is just going up the wrong tree, if you will

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