Presidential Transition Timeline

Incoming Administration: Appointments
November 2016 Post-election

To-Dos

On November 9, 2016, request that a senior ethics official in the executive branch be detailed to the transition team for the purpose of reviewing financial disclosure reports
Wave I: For each position, contact candidates in rank order until a mutual decision is reached to move forward (through December)
Wave I: Interview candidates for each position and request supporting materials for internal vetting (e.g., responses to questionnaire and tax records) (through December)
Wave I: Direct successfully vetted potential nominees to complete and submit SF-86 to the FBI and OGE Form 278e to OGE to begin formal nominee process, with the goal of releasing 30 nominee financial disclosure reports (OGE Form 278e) to OGE through Integrity by November 16, 2016 and 100 total by mid-December (through December)
Confirmation teams that were organized in September lay the groundwork for Senate confirmation preparation (e.g., setting up meetings on Hill, contacting agency representatives) (through Inauguration)

Presidential Transition Guide, Ch. 3, Guide nominees through the Senate confirmation process

In order to prepare presidential nominees for Senate confirmation, the legislative affairs team should offer training and mock Senate hearings during the handover phase and in the early days of the administration. In most cases, nominees have been given a “Sherpa,” a member of the congressional affairs staff or a volunteer who advises and accompanies the nominee when meeting with senators to help build relationships on Capitol Hill, avoid pitfalls and prepare for their nomination hearing.

Discuss appointments timeline with Senate committees (when nominees need to be received in order to have them confirmed by desired timetable) (through December)
Announce top Wave I nominees between Thanksgiving and Christmas (through December)
Plan post-inauguration Cabinet retreat (through Inauguration)

Presidential Transition Guide, Ch. 3, Prepare Cabinet orientation and retreat

Molding the Cabinet into a cohesive team—educated on what it takes to succeed in government and what the new president and the public will expect from them—is critical but often overlooked in the crush of activity early in the administration. There is essential knowledge that the Cabinet and its senior leadership teams need to have on the first day in order to start quickly and effectively, avoid mistakes and accomplish their objectives.

It is also important to give Cabinet members an opportunity to get to know each other and view themselves as a team united by the shared goal of advancing the administration’s priorities. Few challenges confronting the federal government today are within the control of a single agency; they require a collaborative effort by leaders working together across government, starting with members of the Cabinet.

The transition team should begin planning for a Cabinet-level offsite with the president well before Inauguration Day, and before the White House and the Cabinet become swept up in the daily tasks of governing. The offsite should take place as close as possible to the inauguration, provided a significant majority of Cabinet members have been identified and are well into the confirmation process. Areas of focus could include the values and vision that will guide the work of the administration, the decision-making process, breaking down silos to work across government, working with Congress, opportunities for transforming government, and identifying and working with allies outside the federal government.

Work with GSA to determine the scope of training for incoming appointees per the Presidential Transition Act (i.e., define which appointees will receive training and what material will be covered) (through February)
Wave III: Work with policy and agency review teams to create position descriptions (through December)

Agency review teams have insight into key staff positions, potential personnel issues or leadership gaps within each agency. The review teams should work closely with the personnel team to identify potential candidates to lead each agency and identify other core positions that should be prioritized. The agency review team can also play a role in identifying the major management challenges or successes within each agency as well as particular skills and competencies needed.

Wave III: Create long lists for Wave III positions, incorporating input from the agency review team (through December)

Agency review teams have insight into key staff positions, potential personnel issues or leadership gaps within each agency. The review teams should work closely with the personnel team to identify potential candidates to lead each agency and identify other core positions that should be prioritized. The agency review team can also play a role in identifying the major management challenges or successes within each agency as well as particular skills and competencies needed.

Wave III: Conduct vetting of long-listed candidates, including opposition research (using public sources such as LexisNexis, Voter Vault, LegiStorm, SEC records, opensecrets.org, etc.) and additional lawyer review (through December)

Resources

National Academy of Public Administration
NAPA Suvivor’s Guide for Presidential Nominees
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