Author Archive

Donald F. Kettl

Donald F. Kettl

Donald F. Kettl is professor emeritus at the University of Maryland and former dean of its School of Public Policy. He recently retired from the LBJ School at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of many books, including Escaping Jurassic Government: How to Recover America's Lost Commitment to Competence, The Politics of the Administrative Process, System Under Stress and The Next Government of the United States. Kettl is a two-time recipient of the Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration. In 2008, he won the American Political Science’s John Gaus Award for a lifetime of exemplary scholarship in political science and public administration. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Yale University and has held appointments at University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Donald F. Kettl is professor emeritus at the University of Maryland and former dean of its School of Public Policy. He recently retired from the LBJ School at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of many books, including Escaping Jurassic Government: How to Recover America's Lost Commitment to Competence, The Politics of the Administrative Process, System Under Stress and The Next Government of the United States. Kettl is a two-time recipient of the Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration. In 2008, he won the American Political Science’s John Gaus Award for a lifetime of exemplary scholarship in political science and public administration. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Yale University and has held appointments at University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Management

10 surprising things about the ‘deep state’—starting with the Roman Emperor Caligula

COMMENTARY | There are basic truths that never go away, a former dean at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy explains.

Workforce

‘Neutral competence,’ partisanship and efforts to overhaul the civil service

COMMENTARY | One scholar argues that a radical movement to shift powers to the president would be disastrous for the federal workforce.

Management

'Long, long overdue': An oral history of the Government Performance and Results Act

Thirty years ago this month, a landmark piece of legislation aimed to change the very culture of the federal government.

Workforce

What the United States can learn from Australia’s recent catastrophic failure to listen to career government experts

COMMENTARY | A hastily launched 2016 program to reduce overpayment of government benefits was plagued by “unfairness, probable illegality and cruelty,” an Australian commission later found.

Management

The People Behind the Federal Spending Cut Dilemmas

Before slashing federal jobs, lawmakers should think about the mission voters would like the government to perform.

Management

The Gathering Storm Threatening the Civil Service

Conservatives are gearing up for a big debate and attacks that could upend the civil service as we know it. 

Management

The Federal Workplace Is Changing Rapidly, But Merit Principles Must Remain Untouched

The merit system should be at the core of any reforms agencies make to adapt to fast-changing workplace dynamics.

Management

How the Supreme Court’s West Virginia v. EPA Decision Will Upset the Administrative World

The ruling will likely sow confusion and gridlock, and shift the balance of power in an unintended way.

Management

It’s Time to Bridge the Divide Separating Policymakers and Researchers

President Biden’s management agenda provides the perfect opportunity for government officials and public policy researchers to help one another solve pressing problems.

Management

Why Biden’s Presidential Management Agenda Is a Big Deal

The sharply focused effort places a high priority on employee engagement.

Management

Three Pandemic Lessons for the Next Crisis

What we've learned from dealing with COVID-19 could improve the federal response in the future.

Management

The Battle for the Public Service Is Just Beginning

We are in the midst of a critical debate over the future of the federal workforce.

Management

Biden Needs a Strategy for Strengthening the Federal Workforce

Mending the public service isn’t just one more thing to do—it’s the way to do everything that needs to be done.

Management

6 Lessons From 2020 Federal Leaders Should Apply in the Months to Come

As the embers of the dumpster fire that was 2020 burn away, important lessons provide light for the way forward in 2021.

Management

Schedule F Order Relies on a Myth the Private Sector Fires More People Than the Government

The notion that companies remove employees for cause more readily than federal agencies is not supported by the data.

Management

Why Merit Matters

Governance isn’t a solo act and it won’t work well if we don’t trust the experts who are giving us advice. 

Management

Trump’s Order Sets the Stage for Loyalty Tests for Thousands of Feds

The president’s executive order sweeps aside 140 years of federal policy promoting professional expertise.