Head of Capitol Visitors Center gets fired

The head of the Capitol Visitor Center has been fired, sources told The Hill on Tuesday.

Terrie Rouse was fired from her position as the chief executive officer for the multi-million dollar Capitol Visitor Center (CVC), according to an announcement made to CVC staff on Tuesday afternoon.

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Several sources with knowledge of her departure said Rouse has obtained the services of a lawyer and might try to challenge her firing.

Rouse could not be reached for comment and CVC officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol (AoC), who oversees the CVC and has the authority to fire Rouse, did not confirm Rouse’s firing, saying only that she would be “leaving the position” of CEO for visitor services.  

“We wish Terrie well as she moves on to other endeavors,” said Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for the office of the AoC.

Rouse’s departure comes in the wake of a security snafu first reported by The Hill last month, in which a supervisor with the visitor center flushed a bag of white powder labeled “Anthrax” down a public toilet before notifying the U.S. Capitol Police.

Staff with the CVC told The Hill that under Rouse’s leadership, they experienced prolonged periods of low morale and felt intimidated by the upper levels of management.

According to several CVC staffers who spoke with The Hill, Rouse was also known for promoting retaliatory measures, such as assigning employees to undesirable posts if they went against the chain of command. The staffers spoke with The Hill on background because they are not allowed to speak to the press.

“It’s great news,” said one staffer of Rouse’s departure. “There’s a culture here that’s no good, and this is a start to making it better.”

Rouse had been with the CVC since 2007. She was replaced by Dan Cassil, who will serve as the acting CEO for visitor services, and Beth Plemmons, who will serve as acting deputy CEO for visitor services.

This was not the first time that Rouse has been fired from a job. In 1993, she was terminated from the California Afro-American Museum, the country’s largest black museum in the nation.