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Justice, Fairness, Inclusion, and Performance.

Standing Panel on Executive Organization and Management January Meeting

January 12, 2021

Monthly Meeting – Friday, January 29, 2021, 10:00 – 11:45 a.m. (Eastern)

Topic: Build Back Better: Where to Start?

The Biden-Harris Administration’s transition mantra has been to #BuildBackBetter. But to do so, it is important to understand the current state of affairs. For the most part, the transition team has focused on policy initiatives, but there have been many reports about actions taken in recent months to hobble the administrative abilities of agencies to act on new initiatives.

These actions range from steps taken to undermine political and legal norms, such as the extensive use of acting officials; undermining administrative routines, such as the recent elimination of governmentwide guidance for developing strategic plans; the undermining of capabilities in individual agencies to deliver on their missions, such as actions taken at U.S. Global Media Agency; and the undermining of civil service standards, such as the creation of Schedule F.

These actions are different than the more traditional shifts between administrations of different political parties, which tended to focus on policy initiatives such as labor, environment, or immigration regulations or standards. And they are different than prior transitions with the adoption of “midnight regulations” that are also mission-related.

This panel session will identify and discuss the implications of some of the Trump administration’s actions and which might be of higher priority to be addressed in any “build back better” agenda in coming months. You will be invited to add to the list!

To begin the conversation, professor Al Roberts will summarize an advance copy of a journal article he has co-authored with and Don Moynihan that addresses a number of the political norms that have been broken. Others will address administrative, agency, and personnel actions that could adversely affect the ability of the Biden administration’s ability to govern effectively.


Tom Stanton, NAPA Fellow, moderator

Alasdair Roberts, University of Massachusetts – Amherst

Loren DeJonge Schulman, Partnership for Public Service

Jason Briefel, Senior Executives Association

Logistics: We will meet on Friday, January 29th from 10:00 AM until 11:45 AM (Eastern).

Follow this link to register for the zoom session

Hope you can join the discussion!
John Kamensky, Chair
Standing Panel on Executive Organization and Management

Background Reading

“Dysfunction by Design: Trumpism as Administrative Doctrine,” Donald Moynihan and Alasdair Roberts,

Pre-Release Copy of article to appear in the Jan/Feb 2021 issue of Public Administration Review.