The Council for Excellence in Government, one of Washington's largest good-government organizations, will shut down on Feb. 16 after 25 years of operation. The majority of its staff and programs will join the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service.
The council's board of trustees authorized the move at a Feb. 9 meeting, citing the current financial climate as the reason for its demise.
"The current economic climate has made it extremely difficult to raise the funding required to continue and grow these vital programs," said John Macomber, chairman of the council's board of trustees. "Moving these programs to the Partnership will improve efficiency, increase their impact, and provide needed services to more government executives and organizations."
Lynn Jennings, the council's interim president and chief executive officer, said the organization had been having trouble meeting its operating expenses for some time. Max Stier, president of the Partnership for Public Service, said the merger would cut overall operating costs by combining the two organizations into one office space, making it easier to fund the consolidated set of programs.
"The great thing is that we're consolidating resources to achieve the same ends. I think this is something that happens all too infrequently in the nonprofit world. As a result, you have a fragmentation of effort, and that doesn't serve the best interest of the various organizations," Stier said. "We're going to build on what the council has done, and we're quite excited to have their folks."
All the council's program staff will move to the Partnership on or before Feb. 16. Jennings said some of the council's administrative staff will be laid off, but the organization planned to help them search for new jobs.
The Partnership will absorb the council's Excellence in Government Fellows Program, which trains midcareer federal executives, and its Strategic Advisors to Government Executives program, which connects current and former chief information and financial officers to share data and best practices, and planned to expand to include agency chief acquisition and human capital officers. The Partnership also will administer Public Service Recognition Week.
The consolidation brings a range of prominent workforce programs under one roof, as the council's initiatives join the Partnership's Best Places to Work survey, Service to America Medals and the Call to Serve program, which promotes federal service on college campuses.
"There will not be a beat skipped in terms of transition and coordination. We've been planning this out for a few weeks," Jennings said. "The same continuity of service, continuity of coaching will remain the same. There should be no concern at all that there will be any major changes in terms of service."
This is the second time in recent years that the Partnership has absorbed another good-government group. In 2004, it merged with the Private Sector Council.