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Reforming the Appointment Process

December 19, 2018


Over the last thirty years, there have been numerous studies calling for major reform of the political appointment process. This section includes the major studies during that period which have examined the political appointments process and made recommendations for reform.

Some of the recommendations contained in the reports have been enacted, but many have not. This section provides a unique collection of reports to assess what additional changes are still needed in both the appointments process and the presidential transition process.

Studies by Organizational Sponsor

The Aspen Institute Commission to Reform the Federal Appointments Process

The Federal Appointments Process: The Problem and Our Proposed Solutions (2012)

The Brookings Institution

A Half-Empty Government Can't Govern: Why Everyone Wants to Fix the Appointments Process, Why it Never Happens, and How We Can Get it Done (2010)

Appointments, Vacancies and Government IT: Reforming Personnel Data Systems (2014)

To Form a Government: A Bipartisan Plan to Improve the Presidential Appointments Process (2001)

The Center for American Progress

Waiting for Leadership: President Obama's Record in Staffing Key Agency Positions and How to Improve the Appointments Process (2010)

National Academy of Public Administration

Agencies in Transition: A Report on the Views of the Members of the Federal Senior Executive Service (2009)

Assessing the 2009 Presidential Transition at the Department of Homeland Security (2008)

The Executive Presidency: Federal Management for the 1990s (1988)

Leadership in Jeopardy: The Fraying of the Presidential Appointment Systems, Final Report of the Pres. Appointee Project (1985)

Strengthening Administrative Leadership: Fixing the Appointments Process (2012)

The Partnership for Public Service

Ready to Govern: Improving the Presidential Transition (January 2010)

Twentieth Century Fund Task Force of the Presidential Appointment Process (1996)

Report of the President's Commission on the Federal Appointment Process (1990)

Virginia Tech

Report from the Workshop on "Appointee Politics and the Implications for Government Effectives"