Center Blog

The Countdown is On

November 9, 2016

Max Stier, CEO, Partnership for Public Service

In just 73 days, President-elect Donald Trump will take the oath of office and instantly assume responsibility for a four million-person organization with an annual budget of nearly $4 trillion. Our new president will have to deal with a multitude of global emergencies and pressing economic and domestic challenges, while simultaneously filling 4,000 critical leadership positions. 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, resulting in delays in filling key jobs, policy blunders and management missteps.

At the Partnership for Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition, we have been working to change this narrative.

During the past year, the Center has worked with the presidential campaigns, the White House, federal agencies, Congress and other interested parties to ensure that the transfer of power on January 20, 2017 is organized, well-planned and worthy of the American people. This effort resulted in both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump establishing active transition operations earlier than presidential candidates in previous election cycles, enabling them to lay the groundwork to be ready to govern on day one.

In order to capitalize on their important pre-election preparations, President-elect Trump and his team should focus during the transition on three key activities:

  • Identify key talent: Have White House staff and top 100 agency leaders in place immediately after Inauguration Day
  • Prepare a game plan: Build out the new administration’s policy agenda and develop a management strategy for implementing those priorities
  • Learn from the career workforce: Deploy agency review teams to gather information about the unique roles, responsibilities and challenges of major departments and agencies

Luckily, the transition team doesn’t have to start from scratch. In our Presidential Transition Guide, we share many of the lessons learned from past transitions and suggest best practices that will help contribute to a smooth and successful transfer of power.

We also host the only existing repository for documentation from previous transitions in our Resource and Publication Library. We’ve also developed new material including first-ever position descriptions for the top Senate confirmed positions and agency profiles, like this one for the Department of Justice, to assist transition teams in their review of the federal agencies.

We see our platform as a living resource. Let us know if you have materials to add or information you would like to see.

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