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Public Administration Professors Decry Trump 'Weaponization' of Mismanagement

Open letter signed by more than 120 academics and former government officials accuses administration appointees of “routine and intentional administrative malpractice.”

More than 120 experts in the study and practice of public administration and public policy have signed on to an open letter decrying “the intentional degradation and weaponization by many Trump administration appointees of bad public management as a purposeful strategy to influence and shape public policy.” 

The letter says this includes attempts “to undermine traditional institutions of accountability; frequent efforts to control and manipulate scientific data and objective facts in a clearly deceptive manner for short term political ends; concerted efforts to undermine effective personnel and management practice to achieve narrow partisan goals; and a degree of senior leadership turnover truly unmatched in American history.”

The letter was circulated by Allan Rosenbaum, president-elect of the American Society for Public Administration and professor of public policy and administration at Florida International University. Its signers include many current and former prominent academics and government officials, including former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening; James L. Perry, professor emeritus at the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University; and Don Moynihan, professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University.

“We do not write on behalf of, or as representatives of, the many organizations and institutions to which we belong, or where we are employed,” the letter says.

The letter is unusual, because many public administration experts, like career civil servants, steer clear of partisan politics.

“Some of us have been involved in government in a partisan manner, working both in Republican and Democratic administrations,” the letter says. “The majority of us have not. In many cases, we have not previously been involved in any political campaign activity, but we have long been involved in working to enable government to deliver critically important public services to all of the American people ever more effectively and equitably.”

While the letter stops short of endorsing Trump’s opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, it states, “never has there been such blatantly irresponsible and intentionally incompetent management, utilized to achieve specific political ends, as the country has witnessed during the past three and a half years.”

Click here to view the letter and its signers