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ASPA, NAPA Launch Transition Project: Memos to National Leaders

Washington, DC–ASPA and the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) are offering a blueprint to the nation’s leaders for addressing some of the country’s most pressing challenges. As the leading organizations on public administration, ASPA and NAPA gathered a group of top public management experts and advocates to present recommendations to Congress and the U.S. President on the federal workforce, the budget, political appointees and information technology.

The first memos were introduced on July 11, 2012, and related to the federal budget and the intergovernmental system. The event featured former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening and former U.S. Congressman Tom Davis.

From the financial crisis that looms to the silent crisis brewing between the federal government and the states, ASPA experts and NAPA Fellows are presenting recommendations that include innovative and practical solutions.

Among the questions that the experts considered were:

  • What options exist for the nation to reconcile its anti-government attitude with the growing appetite for public goods and services?
  • Can effective public administration exist in the current highly politicized environment?
  • How is the capacity of states affected by the delivery of federal programs?
  • How can the relationship between states and the federal government be more effective?

As Davis pointed out, “The system is in crisis and the evidence is very much in front of us. We just don’t pay attention to it.” In his remarks to introduce the memo on “Strengthening the Federal Budget Process,” Davis reminded the audience that the last time Congress had passed all appropriations bills on time was 1996.

“Since 1999, Congress has failed to adopt the budget on time,” said Davis. “You cannot run a government that way.”

As last summer’s budget crisis remains fresh in the minds of many Americans and the intensity of an election year and sequestration are realities facing the country, the Memos’ recommendations are particularly relevant to today’s fiscal crisis.  In the federal budget memo, led by Steve Redburn, the authors recommend expedited rescissions, fast track consideration of presidential budget proposals, and annual reconciliations among others. To read the full list of recommendations in the budget memo, visit www.memostoleaders.com.  The budget memo was co-authored by Phil Joyce, Roy Meyers, Paul Posner and Redburn.

The second memo released was on “Rationalizing the Inter Governmental System.” Introduced by Gov. Glendening, the memo called for broad changes to the current system and proposed institutional changes including the establishment of an intergovernmental policy council. This memo was written by Allan Rosenbaum, Timothy J. Conlan, Posner and Glendening.

“We need to go back to a time when we worked together to find solutions,” said Gov. Glendening. “This crisis of the intergovernmental system is not a short term one. It is time we moved from a forum of debate to a program delivery system.”

In addition to the first two memos, ASPA and NAPA will release seven other memos through the summer and fall. Other topics that the memos will address include political appointees, the federal workforce, public-private initiatives, performance ethics and information technology. The project is being led by Posner, ASPA Past President and NAPA Fellow.

As the national economy and the financial stability of states and localities dominate the news, the country’s public management issues demand the attention of the current and next administration. The memos recommendations will be presented to Congress and the presidential transition team.

“These memos are an important conversation starter,” said ASPA Executive Director Antoinette Samuel. “Our goal is to present the incoming leaders’ with viable options for dealing with some of the nation’s high priority issues related to governance and effective public management. We are not just putting a spotlight on these problems but offering solutions to our leaders for consideration.”

Dan Blair, NAPA president and chief executive officer, noted,” NAPA is proud to join ASPA in bringing together the nation’s prominent thought leaders to address the most pressing public administration issues in government. Our Memos to National Leaders initiative builds on the Academy’s efforts to assist in the upcoming presidential transition.”

Among the recommendations included in the memos:

  • Create a list of high-priority national objectives for the budget and assign one person to conduct a strategic review of each priority;
  • Consolidate authorizing and appropriations committees in Congress;
  • Prohibit continuing resolutions;
  • Reform the intergovernmental revenue process;
  • Urge significant consideration for creation of an intergovernmental policy council

To review the memos and view the full list of recommendations, visit www.memostoleaders.org.

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The American Society for Public Administration is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration. It is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration.

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