Posts Tagged ‘Chief of Staff’

Update: The White House Transition Project

August 20, 2009

I had lunch yesterday with Martha Kumar, who helps run the White House Transition Project,  and she encouraged a visit to their website to see their “Six Month Review” of the Obama Administration’s transition.  You should visit also!

They’ve got a running tally of the status of presidential appointments as of the six-month point (55 percent identified or confirmed, of the top 542 positions).  They note the delay in confirmations tends to be on the White House side – not the Senate side — of the appointment process.

They have also drafted some essays on specific topics:  a review of Rahm Emanuel’s effectiveness on the job so far (a positive assessment), a review of Jim Jones’s role as national security advisor (still evolving), and a piece on presidential travel (Obama has earned lots of miles!).  Additional essays in production include a piece on the organization of the White House, and the interaction between the President and the press.


The Transition MOU

November 14, 2008

President Bush signed an executive order in October creating a Presidential Transition Coordinating Council.  In that order, it stipulates that one of the first orders of business after the election is to sign a memorandum of understanding between the outgoing Bush Administration and the incoming President-Elect’s transition team.


That memo was signed earlier this week and was sent out to agencies as guidance on Wednesday.  National Journal’s Alexis Simendinger tracked down a copy, so here’s a link!


The memo paves the way for the “parachute teams” that are to begin arriving in agencies on Monday.  It lays out the rules of engagement:


The President-Elect’s Transition Team (PETT) will provide lists of approved transition team members in writing to the White House Chief of Staff, Josh Bolten.  The Chief of Staff will provide this list to the appropriate departments and agencies.  “The Administration will conduct its transition activities with the PETT through the contacts authorized by the Chief of Staff and the Chair of the PETT.”


Each agency will “use best efforts to locate and set aside available space” and provide “appropriate support to and equipment for use by the PETT.”  Separate media reports say that space for 50 transition team members has been set aside in the Pentagon.


The memo goes into the rules for sharing classified or confidential information, especially given that transition team members are not government employees.    The memo also defines how disagreements over access are to be resolved.