President Bush signed a new executive order this morning outlining how his Administration will facilitate the upcoming transition. The executive order creates a Presidential Transition Coordinating Council, chaired by the President’s chief of staff, Josh Bolton. The Council is charged with collecting information about past transitions and provide assistance to the major party candidates and the president-elect.
The General Services Administration is charged with coordinating these materials as well as preparing a Transition Directory. “Transition agreements” will be entered into between the White House, executive agencies and “the transition teams for the major party candidates and the President-elect. . . “
Similar executive orders have been issued in the past, but generally after Election Day. Also, this new Order seems to suggest that contacts between the government and transition teams are being encouraged in advance of the Election. I’ll update with links to media stories that might explain further.
Interestingly, a recent Huffington Post story by Sam Stein provides an update on the Obama and McCain transition efforts underway. The story says that the two efforts are “worlds apart” in their approach. Stein says “Sen. Barack Obama has organized an elaborate well-staffed network to prepare for his possible ascension to the White House, while Sen. John McCain has all but put off such work until after the election.” He notes that McCain’s own staff express concern over his lack of planning.