When Dan G. Blair announced recently that he would retire after five years as president of the National Academy of Public Administration, his decision opened up a job with a lot of potential for shaping the debate about government.
NAPA’s congressional charter gives it a broad mission to help improve the manner in which public purposes are pursued. And the opening comes at a time when established systems of governance are increasingly in question and in need of fresh approaches.
NAPA posted a position description for the job on its website Monday, along with a paper describing the range of governance challenges facing the nation. The search is being led by Mark Pisano, a professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and NAPA board member.
In announcing the search, the NAPA board of trustees declared that “the very design, nature and operation of our country’s vital public institutions have been variously characterized as being in a state of institutional crisis, dysfunction, decay, chaos, failure and imminent collapse.”
Relations between the various levels of government in the United States offer one example: there is little agreement, for instance, between the federal government and many state governments on issues of fiscal policy, education, infrastructure, election equity and more.
And many societal challenges today demand intersectoral solutions involving governments, businesses, civic groups and the nonprofit sector.
NAPA’s bread and butter since its founding in 1967 has been in the traditional fields of public administration and management: planning, budgeting, performance management and measurement, financial management and accounting, human resource management, program design and management, communications and information management, technology management, asset management, procurement, auditing, evaluation and accountability.
The academy has served as an adviser to many agencies on these kinds of topics. Expert panels drawn from more than 600 elected fellows oversee its studies.
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