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5 Thoughts on the Trump Transition and the Federal Government

As we look towards the Trump transition, there are a few thoughts I had on what this means for federal employees. Lots of other folks have written more detailed analysis based on official transition plans. But I was pondering some additional questions or ideas I had so here I’m going to weigh in with a few additional thoughts: 

  1. Federal government retirement: With 31 percent of federal employees eligible to retire by 2017, it will be interesting to see if there is an increased retirement in next 6-12 months. In general, presidential transitions have higher retirement rates, so this is natural and with the stock market/401k at all-time highs, many feds may be ready to retire.
  2. Will we see Peter Thiel in D.C.? Peter Thiel is a billionaire who is co-founder of Paypal, a first investor in Facebook, partner at YCombinator, and co-founder of Palantir. He was one of the most prominent Trump supporters in technology and has interests in government from his Palantir experience. He is a creative thinker around technology and would be very interesting to see his approach to government technology. Would Trump pick him as CTO, perhaps?
  3. Pay for success/shared in savings procurements: There are a number of innovative procurement approaches to solving government problems. For example, it is popular in green buildings to take a pay for savings model where often the winning vendor receives a $0 contract but a percentage of savings. At the state and local level, the company NIC offers free state government websites and gets a percentage of the transaction. In the social programs arena, there is interest in paying for social behaviors (instead of paying for hosting a prisoner in a jail, add incentive pay for decrease in recidivism). I think there is potentially more interest in taking creative approaches to solving government problems where companies take more of the risk (but more of the upside too). 
  4. Bringing back past ideas for new programs: Will we see a resurgence of some of the programs from the Bush or Obama presidencies with new names/approaches? A big infrastructure program could lead to a lot of state/local funding and bring back signs of the Recovery Act. Bush’s Secure Communities program sounds a lot like the focus on deporting illegal aliens who have committed crimes. Will we see a civilian service reform focusing on pay for performance similar to under President Bush?
  5. Creative use of real estate: One area Trump has a lot of experience is real estate. It will be interesting to see who he appoints to run GSA – perhaps a role for Ivanka Trump?  Will he use real estate as a way to revitalize areas? For example, the CDC is headquartered in Atlanta. Could we headquarter the Department of Transportation in Detroit and help revitalize and create jobs? There could be more interest in creative use of federal real estate than in past administration where it is a smaller thought process.

What thoughts do you have about things that could happen under the Trump presidency? What predictions would you make?

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12 Comments

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Sterling L Whitehead

I like the concept of moving certain departments to different cities. It decentralizes federal power, bringing government to the people; builds resiliency in case something bad happened to DC; and promotes telework. DC’s economy would suffer but it would spread wealth.

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Profile Photo Dylan Mroszczyk-McDonald

This is an interesting idea, but I’m not sure the benefits would offset the costs. For example, the reason the Pentagon was built was to centralize dispersed branches of the military and bring them together for increased communication and collaboration. An argument could be made that with the advent of virtual communication methods, location is not as important anymore. However, social science tells us this is not the case; particularly when looking at building creativity and innovation among the workforce. Weak tie connections and the chance encounters with colleagues across government the spark innovation are a valuable x-factor that we would do well to consider.

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Vern

Humans will just about always expand into the area which they are given. If the department of the interior is located within a city that encourages their expansion, then expansion of every moved government agency will be encouraged by local interests. I could easily see those entities growing exponentially as pork barrel initiatives arise in support of local economies.

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tl

The page was blank except for the introductory paragraph and the final question. I copied what I could read below:
As we look towards the Trump transition, there are a few thoughts I had on what this means for federal employees. Lots of other folks have written more detailed analysis based on official transition plans. But I was pondering some additional questions or ideas I had so here I’m going to weigh in with a few additional thoughts:

1 – Federal government retirement:With 31 percent of federal employees eligible to retire by 2017, it will be interesting to see if there is an increased retirement in next 6-12 months. In general, presidential transitions have higher retirement rates, so this is natural and with the stock market/401k at all-time highs, many feds may be ready to retire.

2 – Will we see Peter Thiel in D.C.? Peter Thiel is a billionaire who is co-founder of Paypal, a first investor in Facebook, partner at YCombinator, and co-founder of Palantir. He was one of the most prominent Trump supporters in technology and has interests in government from his Palantir experience. He is a creative thinker around technology and would be very interesting to see his approach to government technology. Would Trump pick him as CTO, perhaps?

3 – Pay for success/shared in savings procurements: There are a number of innovative procurement approaches to solving government problems. For example, it is popular in green buildings to take a pay for savings model where often the winning vendor receives a $0 contract but a percentage of savings. At the state and local level, the company NIC offers free state government websites and gets a percentage of the transaction. In the social programs arena, there is interest in paying for social behaviors (instead of paying for hosting a prisoner in a jail, add incentive pay for decrease in recidivism). I think there is potentially more interest in taking creative approaches to solving government problems where companies take more of the risk (but more of the upside too).

4 – Bringing back past ideas for new programs: Will we see a resurgence of some of the programs from the Bush or Obama presidencies with new names/approaches? A big infrastructure program could lead to a lot of state/local funding and bring back signs of the Recovery Act. Bush’s Secure Communities program sounds a lot like the focus on deporting illegal aliens who have committed crimes. Will we see a civilian service reform focusing on pay for performance similar to under President Bush?

5 – Creative use of real estate: One area Trump has a lot of experience is real estate. It will be interesting to see who he appoints to run GSA – perhaps a role for Ivanka Trump? Will he use real estate as a way to revitalize areas? For example, the CDC is headquartered in Atlanta. Could we headquarter the Department of Transportation in Detroit and help revitalize and create jobs? There could be more interest in creative use of federal real estate than in past administration where it is a smaller thought process.

What thoughts do you have about things that could happen under the Trump presidency? What predictions would you make?

Where are the 5 thoughts?

Reply
ao

Same, TL. You’re probably also viewing on a government computer with an outdated browser. I tried the link from my phone and could read the article.

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Natalie J

If we’re going to encourage innovation in the federal government, we have to allow for failure and have feedback loops to learn from them. Too often when something goes wrong, the first question are “who is to blame?” and “who’s getting fired?” The only lesson you learn is that it’s not worth it to try something new. To change that way of thinking requires a huge cultural shift that starts at the top. Going out on a limb is always scary and if you know your boss will throw you under the bus if you fail, that’s not a whole lot of incentive to try.

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Profile Photo Catherine Andrews

Hi those having issues seeing the piece – it is probably because you’re using an older version of IE. I apologize for the issue. Check the comment by tl, who thoughtfully put the whole piece in his comment. Also try clicking the “print” icon and it will come up as a PDF. Or post your email or email me at [email protected] and I will send you the full text.

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Profile Photo Jamie Shofner

Great article. Whether you support the President Elect or not we have to understand that there will be an impact. Depending on your perspective it will be positive or negative. Depending on your professionalism it will be successful or not. Twenty plus years active duty military has taught me to work within the system for a positive outcome. I’m proud to say that I’ve carried it over to my government service position.

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