How Are Things Going?


John Podesta, Transition DirectorBy all accounts, and in an historical context, the Obama transition seems to be moving forward far more organized and methodical than any Democratic transition in the past half century. A great article by Lois Romano in yesterday’s Washington Post Style section, of all places, While the article is a profile of transition director John Podesta, it also provides a useful pulse of what’s going on:

“So far, nearly 300,000 job seekers have filed résumés online for about 8,000 jobs. During a recent visit to the transition office, the building’s lobby looked like the Palm at lunchtime: a lot of hungry-looking men (and a few women) in dark suits staring at BlackBerrys, waiting to meet with someone, anyone. . . .

“There is always a manic crush of job seekers during a transition, but Podesta says he has never seen anything quite like the eagerness to join the Obama administration. . . .

“The plan, he says, counts on the transition team to staff only the senior levels of the White House, Cabinet members and the top layer at government agencies. With specially created software to collate the applicants by expertise, the transition office is building a database, he says, that will easily transfer to the White House personnel office. Podesta says that as soon as the appointees can transition out of their current jobs and take responsibility, he will hand off the rest of the hiring to them. “Much of the hiring,” he says, “will take place after the inauguration.” . . . . .

“In addition to personnel, the transition has dispatched teams of Democrats to conduct efficiency studies of the various agencies, as well as review the current system for awarding contracts. “There’s a lot of sole sourcing of contracts in the Bush structure that even infected the grantmaking process,” he says. “There’s a lot to clean out of the barn there.”

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