What is your role and primary responsibilities at the Academy?
I am the Director of the newly formed Center for Intergovernmental Partnerships. The Center is looking for ways to improve coordination between and across levels of government. The vast majority of domestic policy in the United States is implemented at the state and local levels. Many of these programs are designed to maximize oversight instead of effectiveness. We can do better.
What do you like best about working at the Academy?
Working with many smart and dedicated people to advance a mission I care about – improving government. My role with the Center is especially meaningful because I value the role of state and local government in the American system. I spent the first ten years of my career in local government, and I saw how it has an impact on people’s lives every day.
Which of the 12 Grand Challenges in Public Administration resonates the most with you?
“Develop new approaches to public governance and engagement” captures what we’re doing at the Center. The capacity to collaborate across levels of government has fallen by the wayside. The de-funding of the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations in 1996 was both a cause and an effect. Of course, the Congressional Budget Office examines the impact of federal mandates, but it’s not the same.
Why is public service important to you?
I was raised to value public service. My daddy served in World War II and spent most of his career working for the federal government. Both of my parents believed in the agency’s mission. A life well lived is one in which you leave it better than you found it. That’s a high bar, these days, but it’s a good aspiration.
What is your favorite hobby or interest outside of the office?
My husband and I live in a 110-year-old house, and there are always projects to do inside or in the yard. My parents bought this house in 1953 and spent a lot of time working on it. We moved here three years ago. Keeping it up is a labor of love.
What is your favorite travel destination, either past or future?
We used to go to Ocean Grove, New Jersey, when our kids were younger. It’s a very small town just south of Asbury Park. All of the land is owned by the Methodists’ Camp Meeting Association. It’s “dry” and, as a result, a great place for families.