Daniel M. Silva/Shutterstock.com

Help Shape the Next President’s Agenda

Transitions in Governance 2016 wants your input on pressing federal management issues.

How can the next president avoid management mistakes and improve the performance of the federal government?

A bipartisan coalition of 16 good government groups seeks answers with the Transitions in Governance 2016 initiative launched this week. In keeping with the crowdsourcing movement that is so effective in solving other challenges, the Transitions in Governance initiative is asking for your input.

Each new administration comes into office promising to do things differently. Within each federal agency, new political appointees arrive, vowing to fix long-standing management problems. They quickly learn that changing the way government does business is incredibly difficult. Change-resistant cultures within bureaucracies, combined with complex and confusing statutes, can cause even the best and well-intentioned ideas of these political appointees to wither on the vine.

The goal of Transitions in Governance 2016 is to identify some of the greatest challenges the new administration and its appointees will face and provide thoughtful recommendations and reforms for consideration—a shortening of the learning curve, so to speak.

The initiative will examine what is and is not working in a variety of federal management areas, including performance management, information technology, data transparency, workforce recruitment and retention, acquisition reform, intergovernmental relations, and private sector and nonprofit partnerships designed to deliver government services in innovative ways.

The initiative will also tackle the political process itself, starting with the dysfunction in the current federal budgeting process.

Because we believe good management should not have a particular party label, our effort will be bipartisan. Drawing on officials from Democratic and Republican administrations, the initiative will capture candid observations from leaders who have attempted to implement management reforms in government in the past.

Ten Town Hall Dialogues with current and former administration officials are scheduled over the next 18 months. The focus of the first forum, slated for May 6, is the challenge of planning, measuring and evaluating the performance of administration initiatives and federal programs.

You do not have to be a former bigwig in government to offer ideas. The initiative seeks to gather ideas from both the general public and current federal employees through a series of online surveys. Everyone is welcome to submit their ideas and vote on proposed reforms as they are released. The first survey is available online at www.Transitions2016.org.

As the 2016 election cycle progresses, the Transitions in Governance 2016 coalition members will reach out to the major presidential candidates to support their policy shops—providing research and an inside perspective on government reform issues. What a candidate says on the campaign trail can turn into a commitment set in stone should they win. That’s why it’s important that we engage candidates on the campaign trail.

After the election, the initiative’s coalition members will issue a report to the incoming administration and congressional leaders. In addition to the Transitions in Governance initiative, coalition organizations have a variety of policy advocacy and educational programs aimed at supporting the transition team and eventual political appointees, whoever wins.

Tackling the long-standing management challenges in the federal government is hard enough. That’s why it is not only critical for the incoming president to have a management agenda from day one, but that the agenda is built on the good while reforming the bad.

Visit the Transitions in Governance 2016 initiative website at www.Transitions2016.org to share your ideas and track the progress of the project.

Carl DeMaio is the project director for Transitions in Governance 2016 and a senior fellow at The Performance Institute.

(Image via Daniel M. Silva/Shutterstock.com)

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