November 29, 2023
The Partnership for Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition launches new, nonpartisan resources in advance of historic, consequential 2024 transition cycle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 29, 2023
CONTACT: Austin Laufersweiler
WASHINGTON – With less than a year until the next presidential election, the Center for Presidential Transition® at the Partnership for Public Service today launched its 2024 transition and second-term planning activities to help ensure the continuity of knowledge for a stable, effective government.
Next year’s presidential election will be a tenuous moment for American democracy and our institutions. Americans are increasingly politically polarized, trust in our institutions is at historic lows and confidence in our electoral system has been eroded. Against this backdrop, this will be the first presidential election following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and a fraught transition of power between Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
“In 2024, the Center for Presidential Transition’s role is even more critical to ensuring that the smooth transfer of power remains a hallmark of our democracy,” said Valerie Smith Boyd, director of the Center for Presidential Transition at the Partnership for Public Service. “The last presidential transition tested the resilience of this critical democratic tradition. With major geopolitical conflicts demanding the attention of our leaders and a rapidly changing world presenting new technology and security challenges, continuity of an effective government is more important than ever. The stakes of the next transition are extremely high.”
Boyd continued, “When we started this work, transition planning was considered a political liability. Today, presidential candidates and their teams embrace the value of planning towards an effective government that is ready to govern on Day One. The next election presents our country with an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the peaceful transfer of power.”
Since 2008, the Partnership’s Center for Presidential Transition has been the leading nonpartisan organization that works with federal agency leaders, presidential candidates’ transition teams, outgoing presidents and those seeking a second term to ensure that effective, peaceful transitions occur every four years.
As the premier source of nonpartisan information, expertise and research related to presidential transitions, the Center is today releasing new resources to help teams prepare to enter government and those making plans for a second term. These include:
- Updated versions of the Center’s Presidential Transition Guide and the Agency Transition Guide, which detail best practices for candidates and agencies, provide historical materials from past transitions and offer recommendations for a successful presidential transition to a new or second-term administration.
- A redesigned presidentialtransition.org website that will serve as a central hub for the Center’s work, research and analysis. It also includes an extensive repository for documentation from previous transitions as well as a comprehensive database of job descriptions for Senate-confirmed positions.
- A new data visualization that uses the Center’s presidential appointments database to illustrate the broken Senate confirmation process.
- Regular posts on the Center’s blog featuring real-time analysis of transition and second-term planning and execution.
- A bi-weekly newsletter that highlights the Center’s research and events, in addition to important news and transition milestones.
Beginning early next year, new episodes of the Center’s podcast, “Transition Lab,” will explore the connections between transition and democracy and provide analysis to support the 2024 transition. The Center will also continue to provide resources for prospective political appointees through its Ready to Serve program and onboarding for new appointees through the Ready to Govern initiative.
Over the next year, the Center will continue to advocate for ways to improve and strengthen the presidential transition process. Since the 2020 presidential election, there have been several changes to the laws governing presidential transitions to improve efficiency and transparency.
The bipartisan Presidential Transition Improvement Act, which was supported by the Partnership, provides the release of transition services on an equitable basis to candidates in case there is no clear winner five days after the presidential election and until there is a clear winner. This change seeks to avert challenges created by delayed ascertainment of the election results, which deferred the release of transition assistance to the Biden team in 2020.
Another important legislative change will modernize the PLUM Book, the official government record that contains information on more than 4,000 political appointees – more than 1,200 of whom are subject to Senate confirmation – along with thousands of other jobs filled by senior career officials in the federal civil service. For the first time, the PLUM Book will be published online, searchable and updated annually. This improvement will help incoming first- and second-term teams better understand how to staff senior administration positions and clarify for prospective appointees what jobs may be available.
In addition to assisting challenger candidates who have the monumental task of preparing to govern, the Center is also building out its knowledge and expertise to support second-term planning.
Second-term planning can be a challenge for incumbent candidates to prioritize; however, it is crucial to be deliberate about making the most of the first 100 days—often the most productive of an entire four-year term. This is especially important, as new data from the Center shows that for the last three two-term presidents, an average of 46% of their top Senate-confirmed officials serving on Election Day left their jobs within six months into the second term. These include Cabinet secretaries, deputy secretaries and undersecretaries. On average, 31% left within three months.
The Center for Presidential Transition welcomes returning members of its advisory board: Josh Bolten, former chief of staff to President George W. Bush; former Sen. Ted Kaufman, the chair of the 2020-21 Biden transition; former Gov. Mike Leavitt, the chair of the Romney Readiness Project; Mack McLarty, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton; and former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.
The Center’s work is made possible through the support of its premier sponsor Boston Consulting Group.
During the past 22 years, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service has been dedicated to building a better government and a stronger democracy. We work across administrations to help transform the way government works by providing agencies with the data insights they need to succeed, developing effective leaders, inspiring the next generation to public service, facilitating smooth presidential transitions and recognizing exceptional federal employees. Visit ourpublicservice.org, follow us @PublicService and subscribe today to get the latest federal news, information on upcoming Partnership programs and events, and more.