Center Blog


Time’s Almost Up: Beachhead Appointees in Federal Agencies Await Word From the White House

April 19, 2017

As Trump comes up to the 90 to 120 day deadline, he must decide whether to formally hire beachhead team members for permanent roles, temporarily continue their employment or let them go. Here we explain further.


What the New Vacancies Act Ruling Means for the Trump Administration

April 05, 2017

The Supreme Court last month imposed restrictions on the president’s appointment authority. The decision could adversely affect President Trump, who has been slow to nominate individuals for key positions below Cabinet secretaries. Here, we explain in detail.


Moving Forward with a New Management Agenda

March 30, 2017

If implemented effectively, President Trump’s initiatives on the management of the federal government, could result improved efficiency and effectiveness of the federal agencies, and smarter use of taxpayer dollars.


Why the Trump Administration Should Make Customer Experience a Priority

March 23, 2017

Focusing on the customer experience with government services can help the Trump administration accomplish many of its goals, none more important than ensuring that government meets its citizens' needs.


On Being a Deputy Secretary: Surviving Your First Day, Weeks and Year

March 08, 2017

Take a closer look at our checklist, which outlines the best practices and actions that a deputy secretary should consider on day one, and in the weeks that follow, including tactical, operational and strategic actions needed to hit the ground running.


Will Employee Engagement Affect Trump’s Policy Implementation?

February 22, 2017

The 2016 Best Places to Work mission areas data examines commonalities or discrepancies in employee engagement, an important factor for employee performance and agency accomplishment. Here we explain further.


Every secretary needs their deputy…

February 15, 2017

The administration must quickly begin to fill deputy secretary positions along with other members of departmental leadership teams. Here we explain further.


Tracking Trump’s Cabinet appointments progress

February 8, 2017

President Donald Trump has nominated and submitted to Congress 14 individuals for Cabinet positions. Only 8 have been confirmed. This week, we’re taking a deeper look at that data, focusing on a historical perspective of Cabinet nominations and confirmations in the early weeks of administrations.


President Trump’s First 100 Days

February 2, 2017

It’s imperative for Trump and his administration to make government management – not just policy – a top priority during their first 100 days in office.


President Trump Needs to Move Quickly to Fill Key Administration Leadership Jobs

January 25, 2017

Every four years, Americans elect not one leader but several thousands in fact. Nominating the top 100 leaders quickly is critical. Here we explain why.


Obama Submits Last Minute Nominations to the Senate

January 18, 2017

Historically, the number of nominations submitted by presidents in the January of their departure has ebbed and flowed. Here, we explain in detail.


Governing Effectively: A Checklist for Incoming Cabinet Secretaries

January 17, 2017

To ensure a smooth, safe transfer of power, incoming Cabinet secretaries need to be ready to lead and effectively manage their departments. Our Cabinet secretary checklist is roadmap on what members of the president’s leadership team need to know.


Insider Interviews: Max Stier

January 13, 2017

Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service president and CEO, explains the purpose of the homeland security tabletop exercises that take place ahead of the inauguration.


What Can Those Involved With The Presidential Transition Learn From Mergers and Acquisitions?

January 11, 2017

Trump’s team can learn from the private sector’s constant changes through merger and acquisition activity. Here we explain how.


Coaching Your Communications Team Through the Digital Transition

January 4, 2017

During the past eight years, digital media changed the way Americans interact with their government—from tweets and blog posts to videos and contests. So, what happens with this technology when the Trump administration takes office this month?


A Snapshot of Your New Agency

December 28, 2016

The Partnership has published Federal Workforce and IT Snapshots for 25 different federal agencies, which provide demographic information about each agency’s workforce and tech capabilities.


Improving Federal Employee Engagement Must Be Top Priority for Trump Administration

December 21, 2016

President Trump will encounter the need for additional progress in employee engagement in the federal government. This will present both a challenge and an opportunity for the incoming administration.


The Impact of Burrowing In

December 14, 2016

Burrowing is a term used when a political appointee converts to a merit-based civil service position. Here we expand on how burrowing works and how common it is.


An updated list of “Plum” jobs in government

December 05, 2016

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee published the latest edition of the Plum Book, the guide to politically appointed positions in a new administration. Here you can learn more about the Plum Book and its listings.


Tracking Presidential Appointments in Real Time

December 05, 2016

We are excited to announce today our partnership with The Washington Post on a new appointments tracker: This first-of-its-kind tracker will follow the progress of more than 650 of President-elect Trump’s Senate-confirmed political appointments.


Unsung Heroes

November 30, 2016

Acting officials are those who provide continuity between administrations, maintain operations, deliver on the mission, facilitate a smooth and seamless leadership transition and deliver the organization in good shape for the incoming political appointee.


Batches for Success

November 22, 2016

Getting an administration’s team in place quickly is critical to an effective transition and the ability of a new president to effectively govern. Here we will discuss about Batching, another strategy to help improve the efficiency of the nomination process.


Seven Keys to Building Executive Branch Teams

November 16, 2016

The Center for Presidential Transition distilled a few principles to keep in mind as the transition team identifies and selects talent to carry forth the new administration’s agenda.


The Countdown is On

November 9, 2016

In just 73 days, President-elect Donald Trump will take the oath of office. The peaceful transition of power and knowledge from one president to another is a hallmark of American democracy—but behind the scenes it has traditionally been rushed and chaotic. Learn about how we have been working to change this narrative.


Learning from the Past: The Vetting Team Must Be Up to the Task

November 8, 2016

This case study emphasizes on those who are responsible for vetting nominees. They will be expected to assist on the nomination and also to adopt a quasi-adversarial posture with respect to the nominee in order to avoid later second-guessing.


Navigating the Campaign-Transition Staff Integration

November 7, 2016

In the weeks ahead, the campaign and transition teams of the president-elect will begin merging their operations, a process that will mean rapid growth and require organization and clear lines of authority. The following tips can help the winning transition teams navigate these challenges.


Governing Effectively on Day One: How to Use the Center of Government

November 3, 2016

The government is complex. Significant interaction and integration of different people, processes and structures is necessary to get things done. For more than a year, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been making promises on the campaign trail. But on January 20, how will they make those policies a reality?


The Right People in the Right Jobs

November 2, 2016

One of the primary responsibilities of the presidential transition is to identify highly qualified candidates. This post discusses comprehensive set of position descriptions outlining the experience and skills required for our government’s highest offices.


Learning From the Past: Past Drug Use will be Thoroughly Scrutinized

November 1, 2016

This case study emphasizes that past drug use by presidential nominees has been heavily scrutinized for a long time. Although there are many examples in which drug use has prevented prospective executive-branch nominees from serving, few of these are in the public record.


Insider Interviews: Sonal Shah

October 26, 2016

Sonal Shah served on President Obama’s transition team where she led the Technology, Innovation and Government Reform group. She founded Obama’s White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.


Learning From the Past: Tax Compliance is Viewed as a Reflection of Personal Integrity

October 25, 2016

This case study emphasizes that, in the modern world of two-career marriages, and of increasingly complex tax compliance requirements, it is absolutely necessary to prepare for a nomination in the same way one might prepare for an IRS audit.


Learning From the Past: Early Identification of Issues is Critical

October 18, 2016

This case study on Tom Daschle’s decision to withdraw his nomination to be secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration focuses on how it might have been avoided if some critical issues had been identified and addressed early in the process.


Building a More Effective Government Through a Transformed OMB

October 12, 2016

A new report by the Partnership for Public Service explains why the Office of Management and Budget will be critical tool for the next administration to accomplish its goals.


Learning From the Past: The Truth (or Some Version of It) Always Comes Out

October 11, 2016

Bernard Kerik’s nomination in 2004 to be secretary of the Department of Homeland Security represents a classic case study of the failure on two sides of the vetting equation—the nominee and the White House counsel.


Fall Update: Transition Resource Roundup

October 5, 2016

From new portals and recommendations on technology and security policies to a focus on the importance of the first year of a presidency, there have been a number of new papers and reports available for transition teams published during the past few weeks.


Learning From the Past: The Pitfalls Are Not Always Predictable

October 4, 2016

Many nominations have failed because of problems that had not been anticipated or previously had not been issues of concern. This has occurred because vetting standards are in a constant state of flux, with changing norms causing certain issues to increase or sometimes decrease in importance.


Snapshot: Tech in Transition

September 28, 2016

The next administration will face numerous information technology challenges, from an aging workforce to a growing number of cyber-attacks. The new leadership will have to take a critical look at the government’s information technology capabilities and make the necessary investments to help federal agencies improve internal operations and interactions with the public.


A Blended Family: Six Tips to Align Career Feds and New Political Appointees

September 21, 2016

In addition to political appointees, there are about 2.1 million civilian members of the federal civil service, the men and women whose work for the government spans administrations. A successful transition seeks to blend the incoming political and the professional career staff.


Midnight Regulations

September 14, 2016

As the Trump and Clinton transition teams begin planning in earnest following their party nominating conventions, one particular focus of attention will be on regulations the outgoing administration has in the pipeline. These regulatory and executive actions are referred to as “midnight” regulations.”


The Management Roadmap: How the Next Administration Can Hit the Ground Running from Day One

September 13, 2016

Focusing on management as a key enabler to achieving policy and program priorities will allow our next President to lead fast, effective and sustained outcomes by government on behalf of the American people.


Creating a More Transparent Agency with Good Records Practices

September 7, 2016

For incoming agency leaders who must grapple with management and policy challenges, focusing early attention on transparency and records management compliance may seem like a priority to delegate. But doing so has created significant political and legal risks that can easily be avoided.


4 Reasons IT Should Be a Priority for the Clinton and Trump Transition Teams

August 31, 2016

Citizens expect effective and efficient services from the federal government, but they often come up shorthanded. To meet expectations, the next administration must take a critical look at the government’s IT capabilities and make necessary investments.


Leadership Communication with Employees will Lead to a Smoother Presidential Transition

August 24, 2016

Political appointees are leaving or preparing to leave, and employees are wondering how their work life will change and what will happen to the programs and policies that now occupy their attention.


Roundup: Newly Minted Transition Resources

August 17, 2016

The presidential transition is heating up. We rounded up four recently released resources to help teams inside and outside of government keep up-to-date.


Presidential Appointments: The News Isn’t All Bad

August 10, 2016

The ability to quickly staff the next administration will lie largely within the control of the new president. In order to improve the pace of the nomination process, the presidential transition teams for both candidates should immediately start building out the teams of people to vet candidates for politically appointed positions.


The Costs of Presidential Transition

August 3, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump now will begin expanding their nascent presidential transition teams to prepare for the possibility governing. As they do so, a number of questions arise, including who will pay the costs of running these transition operations?


Move In Day

July 27, 2016

As the conventions come to a close, transition activity will accelerate for both major party candidates. Transition teams will not only move into official federal space in the next few weeks, but they will have a lot to do to be ready to govern on day one.


Pause Before You Post—Social Media and the Hatch Act

July 20, 2016

When you are a federal employee, how you choose to interact on social media, particularly during an election season, could land you on the wrong side of a law that restricts the political activity of some federal employees—the Hatch Act.


5 Ways Tech Can Enable A New Administration’s Policy Objectives

July 13, 2016

How will the next administration tackle the challenges looming in the federal technology landscape? Technology might not be a top policy priority, but it is definitely a top policy enabler or, if not addressed, a top disabler.


Insider Interviews: Gail Lovelace

July 6, 2016

Gail Lovelace, former director of presidential transition at the General Services Administration, speaks about her experiences and gives advice to federal agencies.


Getting Things Done: Career Federal Leadership

June 29, 2016

When the incoming administration focuses on onboarding its political leadership team in 2017, it will not be alone. The new team will be supported by the 7,000 members of the Senior Executive Service—the career leaders who provide continuity and expertise in government.


Insider Interviews: Dan Chenok

June 22, 2016

Listen to tips from presidential transition veteran Dan Chenok, the executive director for the IBM Center for the Business of Government.


Insights into Choosing the Right Political Appointees

June 15, 2016

Appointing the right people is the bedrock for a successful presidential administration. Sourcing the best talent and matching their skills to the most suitable positions is vital for a smooth transition. How does a new administration go about doing this?


Planning Ahead: Management Matters Now

June 8, 2016

Presidential candidates talk about policies and programs on the campaign trail, but seldom explain how they will put their ideas into action. Sound management and capable people are crucial for policy implementation. We provide five concepts to get transition teams started.


Getting Your People in Place to Keep the Country Safe

June 1, 2016

At the Center’s National Security in Transition event, Michele Flournoy and Stephen Hadley discuss the importance of the next president getting key appointees in place as early as possible to ensure our nation’s security.


White House Veteran’s 5 Presidential Transition Tips

May 27, 2016

Anita McBride served in the White House under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and played an important role during four different presidential transitions. In this interview, McBride shared some of the lessons she learned from her transition experiences.


National Security and Transition

May 25, 2016

Presidential transitions too often include an immediate test of a new administration’s national security apparatus. The Center and the First Year Project examined steps the presidential candidates need to take well in advance of the election today to ensure our country’s safety and security.


President Obama Kicks Off Transition Planning with Executive Order

May 16, 2016

The release of President Obama’s executive order “Facilitation of a Presidential Transition” on May 6, 2016, marked the formal beginning of the transition of power by the White House and the federal agencies.


Obama Administration Focuses Last Budget To Help New Administration

May 10, 2016

Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan issued a memo last week that directed the leaders of all departments and agencies to collect “information to help the next administration quickly produce its budget.”"


Making Better Decisions in Transition and Beyond

May 4, 2016

The Center shares a Q & A with Edward DeSeve, who has more than 40 years in government service at the local, state and federal level. We spoke with Ed about his work on our latest presidential transition whitepaper with the IBM Center for the Business of Government, “Enhancing the Government’s Decision-Making: Helping Leaders Make Smart and Timely Decisions.”


Presidential Candidates: It’s Time to Prepare

April 27, 2016

While the outcome of this tumultuous primary election season remains uncertain, the remaining presidential candidates must begin their transition efforts now to be ready to govern come inauguration.


Spring Fever: Platform Update

April 27, 2016

Gwynne Kostin, Senior Advisor, Center for Presidential Transition

We’re happy to direct your attention to our newly published Transition Timeline. We broke up the massive overview map and organized the work by month with specific recommendations and related tools and resources so transition stakeholders can jumpstart their work.


9 Ways for a New Administration to Build an Effective Team

April 20, 2016

Matt Sanford, Fellow, Partnership for Public Service

“People are policy” is a political adage stretching back 50 years. It holds true today. The people appointed by a new president carry out administration priorities, shepherd change and deliver on campaign promises. It’s essential that presidential transition teams prepare well to make those appointments—and the earlier the better.


Into Thin Air: A Guide for Political Appointees

April 13, 2016

Teresa Lewandowski, Fellow, Partnership for Public Service

The Senate confirmation process for potential political appointees is like an expedition up the slopes of Mt. Everest. Nominees face an arduous journey in which they are thrust into a highly visible, yet a vulnerable position. During this precarious and sometimes frustrating endeavor, they are exposed to harsh elements: the scrutiny of both the public and Congress.


Turning Campaign Promises into Policy Starts Now

April 6, 2016

David Eagles, Director, Center for Presidential Transition

The outcome of this tumultuous primary election season still remains quite uncertain. This obviously means that the two Democratic and three Republican candidates must devote their full attention and energy to campaigning. But there is another necessity that must not be overlooked. As they vigorously campaign, the candidates also have an obligation to begin preparing to govern.


Our Next President Needs to Think About Enterprise Government

March 30, 2016

Courtney Liss, Associate, Partnership for Public Service

Why should building an enterprise government matter to our next administration? We’re answering that question today in our Q & A with Jane Fountain, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of the Partnership for Public Service and IBM Center for the Business of Government report, “Building an Enterprise Government: Creating an ecosystem for cross-agency collaboration in the next administration.”


Presidential Transitions Improvements Act of 2015 Becomes Law

March 21, 2016

Andrew Lobel, Manager, Partnership for Public Service

Congress has made a clear and unequivocal statement about the importance of the presidential transition with the passage of the Edward “Ted” Kaufman and Michael Leavitt Presidential Transitions Improvements Act.


Help Wanted: 4,000 Presidential Appointees

March 16, 2016

Zach Piaker, Associate, Partnership for Public Service

More than 4,000 political appointees, many of whom hold important leadership and policymaking positions, will be heading out the door next year with the change in administrations. Finding qualified people to fill these jobs is an enormous undertaking, but it is critically important to making the federal government work effectively for the American public.


Agency Review Teams: Looking for Treasure

March 9, 2016

Teresa Lewandowski, Fellow, Partnership for Public Service

Agency review teams are the archaeologists of presidential transitions.

These teams research and gather information to understand the functions of the federal government’s departments and agencies. Their role is to learn about the structure, priorities, challenges and culture of federal agencies—initially through open sources like agency and media websites and, after the election, by direct contact within the agency.


Encouraging and Sustaining Innovation in Government for the New Administration

March 3, 2016

Dan Chenok, Executive Director, IBM Center for Business in Government
Alan Howze, Senior Advisor, Partnership for Public Service

Government has made great strides in creating pathways for innovation over the last several years. The next administration faces the challenge of how to leverage the continuously accelerating pace of change to make the government more effective. Disciplined and replicable models of innovation will help new leaders drive better customer service, increase citizen engagement, deliver efficiencies and improve outcomes.


Creating a Customer-Centered Government

March 1, 2016

Eric Keller, Senior Manager, Partnership for Public Service

Citizens aren’t usually thrilled with how the federal government delivers services, but our next president will have a great opportunity to bring about important changes.


Agencies and Transition—Like Throwing a Match onto a Pile of Gasoline-Soaked Rags

February 24, 2016

Matt Sanford, Fellow, Partnership for Public Service

Clay Johnson, the former deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, described the energy with which civil servants prepared for the 2008 presidential transition. Johnson emphasized the importance of career leaders sharing their knowledge.


Innovation is a Contract Sport

February 17, 2016

Peter Kamocsai, Research Associate, Government Affairs, Partnership for Public Service

A key enabler of innovations in government are acquisitions—government contracting for goods and services. Last year alone, the government spent $440 billion on acquisitions—enough to buy Facebook, Disney and Starbucks together. Those $440 billion were spent on goods and services crucial to achieving agency missions.

But how is this relevant to the presidential transition?


They’re From the Government and They’re Here to Help Your Transition

February 10, 2016

Zach Piaker, Associate, Government Affairs, Partnership for Public Service

There is both disruption and continuity in a presidential transition. Thankfully, a support structure of career staff and their agencies stands ready to assist the presidential transition teams BEFORE the election and the incoming administration after the votes have been counted.


How Congress Can Help the Next President Prepare

February 4, 2016

David Eagles, Director, Center for Presidential Transition
Kristine Simmons, Vice President, Government Affairs, Partnership for Public Service

While the presidential inauguration won’t take place until next January, there are things we can be doing right now to get ready. Congress should act now on several fronts to ensure the transfer of power is smooth and that the government can operate seamlessly and effectively.


Transition targets for campaigns, Congress, and the White House

January 29, 2016

Center for Presidential Transition

David Eagles, director of the Center for Presidential Transition, is throwing down a challenge for the presidential campaigns, the outgoing White House and Congress to get ready to govern now.


Nominate Early and Nominate Often
Seventy-one Percent of Pre-recess Nominations Confirmed by August

January 20, 2016

Dan Hyman, Partnership for Public Service

Getting critical leadership in place quickly is a huge marker for a new president’s success. We’ve been researching previous administrations to tease out strategies that will help the incoming administration be ready to govern on day one.


Filling the Transition Gap: The Center for Presidential Transition

January 20, 2016

Max Stier, President and CEO, Partnership for Public Service
David Eagles, Director, Center for Presidential Transition

Americans expect that the nation’s newly elected president will hit the ground running, but the transition of power and knowledge from one president to another has traditionally been rushed and chaotic, resulting in delays in filling key jobs, policy blunders and management missteps. A lack of thorough preparation could put the nation in jeopardy and seriously impede the progress of a new administration.

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