Prep With the Prune Book

November 26, 1996

Prep With the Prune Book

Federal managers with new bosses in the second Clinton administration can help prepare them for life in the public sector by pointing them to a new on-line report from the Council for Excellence in Government.

The 1997 "Prune Book," at looks at both the political appointment process itself and the challenges appointees face once they take their jobs.

"Almost all of the current and past appointees interviewed for this and previous Prune Books say that their time in government was the most rewarding of their careers," writes council President Patricia McGinnis."And, to a person, they wish that they had known at the beginning of their public service what they knew at the end." The "Prune Book" attempts to give them that knowledge through the experiences of seasoned political appointees. The report's second chapter, Survival and Success as a Government Executive, includes lessons some of them have learned.

"I wish I had done better on visiting other people at the same level in my agency to get familiar with what they're doing, what they're thinking, in order to have a base to integrate with them and start a network," one appointee says. "You should do it before, rather than after, your confirmation, to think out your own processes and see if this is the right area for you to go into."

The report also examines 39 positions in detail, including Administrator for the Agency of International Development, director and deputy directors of the Office of Management and Budget, and Social Security Administration Commissioner.

The 1997 "Prune Book" is the fifth in a series from the Council for Excellence in Government, and the first that examines the appointment process itself. The name is a play on the "Plum Book," the nickname for the government's quadrennial publication, "Policy and Supporting Positions," which lists the 9,000 positions filled by presidential appointment. The report is only available on-line. Hardcopies will be published in January.

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