Tom Fox is the Vice President for Leadership and Innovation at the Partnership for Public Service.
He told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program that most political appointees are sticking around much longer these days, so when it comes time for a presidential transition, the upheaval is much bigger.
“There will be a fair amount of disruptive transitions even if there is a second Obama administration,” said Fox.
Embracing the Political Appointee?
“It’s a bit odd, but when a political appointee first takes over, is when they have the most political capital. But it’s also when they know the least about government. They need to create a tight relationship with the career civil servants if they want to make any real changes,” said Fox.
“Most career civil servants are just trying to get the job done. They don’t have a political agenda. So the political appointees should not be distrustful of them,” said Fox, “in reality career feds are the long-term stewards of the federal government.”
Appointments Take Longer to Approve
“This spike in confirmations is creating an added layer of uncertainty for feds. Career folks feel they can’t really enact management changes until they have a political appointee’s approval. So agencies end up hitting the pause button. It’s a shame that politics has this sort of down the stream effect. But there has been some legislation to help streamline the process. It is one of the few areas where democrats and republicans could agree. They have decided to limit the number of appointees who need Senate confirmation,” said Fox.
Romney’s Transition Team
Politico reports, dubbed “The Readiness Project” inside Romneyworld, the effort began in earnest after the Republican National Convention and is not only focused on compiling a list of job candidates, but also designed to create a 200-day roadmap for congressional relations during the post-election lame duck session and beyond.
The transition is being led by former Bush Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, a former Utah governor and fellow Mormon who is expected to play a senior role in any Romney White House.
“Romney’s team has put someone in charge of the transition that is well respected, it’s a positive sign of progress. You also get a sense if the people you would like to appoint would actually accept the nomination,” said Fox.
Senior Leader’s Prep?
“Leaders tend to have a heads down approach. They don’t want to be cast as partisan in anyway. But what they should really do is keep their head up and say let me show you how this works. Lead them through the transition process,” said Fox.
For additional blogs and great discussions about the transition, check out: