Posts Tagged ‘president-elect’

New Transition Executive Order

October 9, 2008

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.

Transition Advice from Experts

July 3, 2008
The July-August 2008 issue of Public Administration Review contains a trio of articles offering advice to the presidential candidates’ transition teams.  Each of the articles offers advice based on experience and history.  As might be expected, there are many parallels.

 

  Dr. Martha Kumar, who directs The White House Transition Project, did an article, “Getting Ready for Day One,” which offers historical insights into what candidates’ transition teams should be doing, starting now!  These include:

·      Campaign commitments can affect the ease or difficulty with which the president-elect establishes the direction of the Administration and staffs the offices.

·      The importance of an information-gathering operation prior to the convention to identify information on personnel and timetables for decisions to be made.

·      Monitor the actions of the incumbent president and administration to be aware of issues that may come to the fore in the early days of the new Administration.

·      Focus on the White House decision-making process, key White House positions, and budget officials.

·      Coordinate both people and policy around the president’s agenda.

 

Harrison Wellford, who helped manage President Jimmy Carter’s transition – both in and out of the White House (and served as an advisor to subsequent presidential transition teams) – wrote “Preparing to Be President on Day One.”    He offers advice on the attributes of a successful transition team.  For example, the transition leader should have a close relationship with the candidate and be trusted by the campaign.  He also advises establishing a relationship of mutual respect and cooperation with the outgoing administration, and learn from the institutional memory of both outgoing teams as well as from senior career executives.  Pointing to the Clinton transition, he notes “Avoid musical chairs in transition leadership after the election!”

 

And finally, Clay Johnson III, who was President George W. Bush’s transition director in 2000 and, as deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget is helping manage the transition out for this Administration, wrote an authoritative: “Recommendations for an Effective 2008 Transition.”  Johnson based his insights on the latest transition:  a cost of at least $9 million, a staff of at least 800, an influx of at least 75,000 resumes.  He offers practical advice about schedules, priorities, and communication.  For example, he notes “Expect a lot of advice from member of previous administrations, ‘experts,” interest groups, lobbyists, governors, legislators, donors, and the like.”  He advises the incoming transition team to clearly inform such advisors on the best ways to communicate with the team.  But his key advice, like both Dr. Kumar and Mr. Wellford, is to start preparing to govern months before the party nominating conventions.

 

Note:  Links to the articles cited are used with the permission of the American Society for Public Administration.