Learn the latest public administration news in today's edition of The Bridge!

November 8, 2023

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It Is Time to Vote in ASPA's Elections

Voting in ASPA's 2023-2024 election is open. Through Wednesday, December 6, at 11:59 p.m. EST, ASPA members have the opportunity to vote for the individuals they believe should serve in ASPA's leadership.

This year, the following positions are open for election:

  • District Representative (for Districts I, II, III, IV and V) who will serve a three-year term representing their electoral District within the United States.
  • Student Representative who will serve a one-year term representing both Student and New Professional members of ASPA.
Click here to learn more about the candidates running for office.

You will need your ASPA login information to vote. Please contact our membership team at [email protected] for assistance. (Need a paper ballot mailed to you? Please contact Jordan Thomas, ASPA's governance and program associate, for assistance.)

This is your opportunity to engage in ASPA's democratic process and choose who will represent your needs and concerns on the National Council and beyond. Vote by Wednesday, December 6!


In Memoriam: Mort Downey

Mortimer L. Downey, III, a towering figure in national and local transportation policy for the last half-century who was the longest-serving deputy secretary of transportation (1993-2001), died last week at the age of 87.

Downey was an active ASPA member for 62 years: He joined ASPA in 1961 and remained a member through July 2023. He was active in the New York Metropolitan Chapter, serving as president, as well as the National Capital Area Chapter; he also was a loyal, long-term member of the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management and Section on Transportation Policy and Administration, which awarded him the Truitt Award for transportation management. He attended ASPA's Annual Conference and presented as recently as 2019. He was an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, which he chaired.

Downey was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Upon graduating from Yale University in 1958 he began a career in public service after having interviewed with every bank and financial institution and not finding success. He took a management trainee job at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and stayed there for 17 years, while also serving in the Coast Guard Reserve (attaining the rank of lieutenant commander).

In 1975, Downey moved to Washington, DC to serve as the first-ever transportation analyst for the new House Budget Committee. He worked under Chairman Brock Adams (D-WA), who brought Downey with him to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) during the Carter administration, first as deputy undersecretary and then as assistant secretary for budget and programs.

Downey stayed in that role until the end of the Carter administration, after which he returned to New York City for a role at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA): deputy executive director in charge of financial management and budget. There, he helped the MTA dig out of the deep hole in which the agency had found itself in the 1970s. He became executive director in 1986, running day-to-day operations. His capital programs and public and private financing were key to rebuilding the system, extending service and even facilitated opening the 2nd Avenue Subway in 2017.

President Clinton nominated Downey for deputy secretary of transportation at the beginning of his administration in 1993; Downey was confirmed unanimously by the Senate that spring. He had a hand in every important transportation initiative or response made by USDOT for eight years, including the landmark 1998 TEA21 surface transportation bill, the creation of the Air Traffic Organization within the Federal Aviation Administration and the Amtrak reform act. He was chief operating officer of the department and represented it in front of the White House, Office of Management and Budget and other administration departments in behind-the-scenes policy discussions. He stayed in this role through the first week of the George W. Bush administration until Secretary Norman Mineta was sworn in.

Downey began consulting work with Parsons Brinkerhoff in 2000, chaired the transportation transition team for the incoming Obama administration in 2008-2009 and was responsible for allowing George W. Bush’s deputy secretary of transportation, Thomas Barrett, to stay in his role until May 2009, when the Obama administration was more fully staffed, in case of an emergency. For more than 20 years after leaving USDOT, he was the go-to advisor for public agencies including New Jersey Transit, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Chicago Transit Authority, WMATA, the Virginia Rail Express, Transport for London and the Panama Canal Authority in the transportation and infrastructure field.

Downey joined the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority’s board of directors in 2010 and chaired it from 2015-2016. He graduated from the private Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, in 1954 and from Yale University in 1958. He received a master’s degree in public administration from New York University in 1966. He was predeceased by his wife, Joyce, and is survived by two sons and seven grandchildren.

Find his obituary online here. Read coverage of his passing from The Washington Post online here. Read New York Times coverage online here.

E-Learning at Your Fingertips

ASPA staff work tirelessly to keep your skills up to date and the information flowing all year long through our e-learning program. Visit our website to see more details about upcoming KeepingCurrent, BookTalk and Student and New Professional series programming.

Students and New Professionals: A CV for Success
November 14 | 1 p.m. EST

Alex Henderson, Associate Professor, Marist College
Jessica Sowa, Professor, University of Delaware
James Wright, II, Moderator, Assistant Professor, Florida State University
Staci Zavattaro, Professor, University of Central Florida

Those on the academic- and research-based job market know that the curriculum vitae—the CV—is one of the most decisive documents when applying for positions. Education...teaching experience...published articles and presentations...service to the profession. These are fundamental elements of the CV. But, there are so many more. Join special guest speakers Alexander Henderson, Jessica Sowa and Staci Zavattaro for this hands-on workshop planned to address the dos and don’ts when developing and updating your CV. Designed for new professionals and those seeking a tenure-track position, this session will highlight ways that you can effectively use the CV to advance in your career.

BookTalk: The Curious Public Administrator
November 16 | 1 p.m. EST

Will Hatcher, Chair, Department of Social Sciences and Professor, Augusta University
Sean McCandless, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Dallas
Beth Rauhaus, Moderator, Associate Professor, Texas A&M University

Louis Brownlow, one of public administration's historical thinkers, argued that “the principal requirement of a good administrator is an insatiable curiosity.” The Curious Public Administrator is rooted in the notion that public administrators must practice insatiable curiosity to be effective, fair and democratic. By seeking to uncover how the world works, and therefore practicing curiosity, public administrators may be more likely to move toward evidence-based decisions, improving the efficacy and efficiency of public service. Curiosity encourages public administrators to seek answers in a caring manner and, in doing so, empathize with the communities they serve.

From the Archives
BookTalk: Technology and Public Management
Students of public administration, public policy and nonprofit management require a strong foundation in how government and non-governmental organizations are connected with information technology. Whether simplifying internal operations, delivering public-facing services, governing public utilities or conducting elections, public administrators must understand these technological tools and systems to ensure they remain effective, efficient and equitable. Technology and Public Management, by Alan Shark, explores the latest trends in technology, providing real-life examples about the need for policies and procedures to safeguard technology infrastructure while providing greater openness, participation and transparency. This BookTalk took place in April; listen in now and learn what Shark shared! (Members only.)

ASPA Student and New Professionals Webinar Series Continues for Fall/Winter

ASPA's student and new professionals webinar series began last week with an event looking at how to craft the perfect resume, and continues through February 2024 with six additional topics. These 90-minute events—free to attend, whether you're a member or not—are planned to help students and recent graduates with career development, job search fundamentals and more.

The following webinars are scheduled between now and January 16, with more to hit the calendars soon! Find complete details on our website.

  • A CV for Success
    November 14, 1 p.m. EST

  • The Cover Letter Conundrum
    December 5, 1 p.m. EST

  • So, You Want to Work in State or Local Government
    December 14, 1 p.m. EST

  • The Nonprofit Compensation Equation
    January 16, 1 p.m. EST
Future events still being scheduled for early 2024 include:
  • Careers in Federal Government: Searching for a Job, Succeeding in It
  • Hot Jobs in Government
These events are planned for current students and recent graduates but anyone may attend. As is the case with ASPA's entire webinar program, all events are free for live participation; members automatically receive access to our webinar archive to view the programs after the events have concluded. Details will be added to our website as they are available.

Please share this information widely; we look forward to seeing our student and new professional members online for one of these webinars soon!


ASPA 2024 Annual Conference Early-Bird Registration Rate Available

ASPA is excited to welcome everyone to Minneapolis, Minnesota, next April. Our website has launched and many, many more details will be added to it in the coming weeks.

Our early-bird registration rates are available—just $439 for members, $539 for nonmembers—and are in effect through midnight eastern time on December 21. Student and new professional members may register for only $259 any time between now and April 16. View all registration details online here.

We look forward to seeing you in Minneapolis!

*ASPA registration rates do not include any extra fees that apply for special events. Individual registrants may pay increased rates to add on programing to their basic registration.

In NASA News: Ken Mattingly Dies

Astronaut Ken Mattingly, of Apollo 13 fame, has passed away. He was 87.

Mattingly led a storied life including as a Navy jet pilot, astronaut and on-the-ground support for NASA's shuttle program, all of which was overshadowed by his association with the Apollo 13 almost-disaster in 1970. He was scrubbed from the mission at the last minute due to concerns about exposure to the measles, but played a critical role for the mission a few days later when the spacecraft suffered an explosion and those on board needed to be brought home safely. (This story is widely known due to the 1995 movie capturing the historic incident.)

Mattingly went on to orbit the moon, command a pair of NASA shuttle missions and work at NASA well into the 1980s. He retired from NASA and the Navy (as a rear admiral) but went to work in the private sector contributing to a variety of aerospace projects and missions.

Read more about Mattingly's life via The New York Times online here.

Public Administration Review Call for Practitioners

Beginning January 2, 2024, Public Administration Review (PAR) will feature a new section entitled “Practically Speaking” (PS) that seeks to strengthen ties between scholarly research—a traditional focus of PAR—and its more practical implications for those in public service. Ron Sanders, a long-time practitioner as well as an academic, is serving as associate editor of PS and is looking for reviewers to help him out.

If you are currently a PAR academic reviewer with any experience as a practitioner and are willing to serve as a PS reviewer, please log in to the PAR system and, under the Areas of Interest or Expertise category, annotate your personal profile with the key word "practitioner." That way, PAR editorial team members can search for you and reach out to see if you are willing to help us review a particular PS submission.

If you are not currently a PAR reviewer but (a) have experience as a public administration practitioner and (b) are willing to serve as a reviewer for PS submissions, please use the same website, add your name and profile to the PAR reviewer roster and annotate it with the same key word (“practitioner”).

Note that whether you are a current PAR reviewer or wish to be, the workload will be minimal. You might see one PS manuscript a year for review, with most of the work to be done by the manuscript authors and our editorial team.

October's PMM Is Free to View

Taylor and Francis is proud to announce that the October edition of Public Money and Management is free to view for three months—through the end of the year. This is the third of the PMM/CIGAR collaborations and can be found online here. Including topics such as AI, the commodification of the public good, social media and more, this is a packed edition. Download your copy today.

And, follow their LinkedIn page for future updates like this!

Public Administration Today Highlight

Public Administration Today features white papers, research and blogs from across the profession. If you're interested in more—especially your own curated news feed in your inbox every week—visit the website, create an account and check off your interest areas so you can stay up to date about the latest research being released!

Our Planning Process Is Broken. Street Experiments Can Help.
Via Next City: Everyone knows how it goes: A street redesign is proposed to calm traffic. Municipal planners and engineers study the project for years, producing reports detailing its importance for sustainability, congestion reduction and traffic safety. Despite this, the project faces massive backlash at community engagement events, with residents complaining about lost parking and increased congestion. In the end, local politicians cancel the redesign, citing a “lack of social acceptability.”

Tips, Resources and the Fun Stuff

It’s Time to Say Goodbye to Changing Clocks Twice a Year
There’s no sensible reason to keep doing it. States could opt out, but most do not. Congress should act, and there’s a 30-minute solution.

It's COVID Season. What Are the New Rules for Staying Safe?
A primer on how to minimize your risk and know when you're in the clear after an exposure.

Why You Should Buy Clothes to Last (Almost) Forever
As you look to upgrade your attire for winter, it might be tempting to replace the sweater you bought a few years ago with a new one, or find something on the discount rack. Hold off. After the novelty is gone, will you be left with just a pile of threads or something that matters, if not forever, for at least a season of your life?

Loneliness Is a Policy Problem. A Big One.
Lack of human connection is bad for your health. Responding to an advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General that a loneliness epidemic is affecting half of all Americans, San Antonio has been pushing out resources to help build bonds between community members.

In the News

Today's headlines contain plenty of news coverage of some of our nation's most pressing public administration challenges. ASPA has curated some of the most important stories from recent weeks. If you have not seen these yet, make sure you read them now!


Public Finance Public Service Social Equity


Members in the News

League Members Celebrate UD Institute for Public Administration’s 50th Anniversary
Delaware League of Local Governments members, including town managers, city clerks and other administrators from Kent and Sussex counties, gathered October 20 at the University of Delaware to celebrate the Institute for Public Administration’s 50th anniversary.

Access to Public Records Is "Deteriorating Terribly"
By Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene

Virginia County Public Health Advisory Commission Selects ASPA Member Allen Lomax for Public Health Award
The Public Health Advisory Commission is encouraging Alexandria residents to celebrate the outstanding public health efforts of Allen Lomax, who has been selected as the 2023 winner of the Flora K. Casey Public Health Award.

Tell Me Something Good...

Need some good news in your world? Check this out:

A Child Lost a Beloved Toy, and a Town Came Together to Find It
When Jack Steel's Lego toy slipped out of his backpack on his morning walk to school, he was heartbroken. "It was quite a special Lego man because I made him," said Jack, 10, who had visited the Legoland Discovery Center in Manchester, England, over the summer, and modeled a Lego figure after himself. He named the toy "Mini Jack" and carried it with him wherever he went. "It did look quite a lot like me." After he arrived at school on Sept. 14, he excitedly went to grab Mini Jack from his backpack. He noticed that he hadn't closed the zipper all the way, and quickly realized that his treasured toy was nowhere to be found. His heart sank.


Around Public Administration

Here are the most recent updates from across the profession. Did we miss you? Send us your news and we'll include it in the next round!

Upcoming Events:

Calls for proposals and other updates:
  • JPNA Call for Editor
    The Midwest Public Affairs Conference (MPAC) Board of Trustees has opened nominations for the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Public and Nonprofit Affairs for the years 2024-2026. JPNA is a peer-reviewed, open source journal that is sponsored by the Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and published by MPAC. The journal is focused on providing a connection between the practice and research of public affairs. This is accomplished with scholarly research, practical applications of the research and no fees for publishing or journal access. JPNA publishes research from diverse theoretical, methodological and disciplinary backgrounds that addresses topics related to the affairs and management of public and nonprofit organizations. The content of the journal spans the spectrum from public finance and organizational behavior to health administration and veterans’ affairs. Applicants should submit a vita and a letter of application describing relevant experience as a researcher of public administration or a related field, editorial work and managerial aspects of running a journal. Applications should be submitted to interim MPAC president Michael Ford at [email protected] ASAP. Applicants should be prepared to work with the current editor-in-chief Deborah A. Carroll on the final 2023 issue to be published December 1, 2023.

  • 32nd NISPAcee Annual Conference Call for Proposals
    The Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe (NISPAcee) invites interested parties to submit applications with abstract proposals for the 32nd NISPAcee Annual Conference, which includes activities and research on various topics of public administration. The conference will take place May 23-25, 2024, in Tbilisi, Georgia, and is organized in cooperation with the Caucasus University, Tbilisi, Georgia. You can find calls for application with abstract proposal online here. The deadline for application with abstract proposals is November 10, 2023.

  • SPAR Best Book Award 2024
    ASPA's Section on Public Administration Research (SPAR) invites your nominations for the SPAR Best Book Award. The Section welcomes nominations for books on public administration published in 2022 and 2023. The criterion for the award is a book that significantly contributes to research in public administration. All research methods are welcomed, as are books across the wide range of public administration research. Books primarily written as textbooks will not be considered. The Section welcomes international publications written in English. Only books that contribute to public administration research and theory will be considered. This recognition will be awarded at ASPA's 2024 Annual Conference. A nominating committee comprised of SPAR members will review each nomination and choose the award winners. All nominations for books published prior to October 15, 2023 must be received by November 15; all nominations for books published after October 15, 2023 must be received by December 15. Nominations should list the book title, author and publisher, and include at least a one-page summary outlining the unique contributions of the book. The nomination documents should be sent to the review committee chairperson by email. A copy of the book (hard copy or electronic version) must be sent to each member of the review committee by the dates listed above. Contact the review committee for more details.

  • SAPA Call for Paper Proposals
    Aligned with ASPA's 2024 Annual Conference theme, “Building Resilient Communities,” the Section on African Public Administration (SAPA) invites members in the United States, the African continent and globally to submit their paper proposals on the concept and task of resilience building in the African context. As recognized by the ASPA community in the conference theme, the definition of resilience is driven by local stakeholders as they take charge of the identification of local needs and the formulation of local solutions. The concept of resilience has attracted policymakers, public administrators, practitioners and academics since the 1960s with roots in Paulo Freire's work on the effects of colonial oppression and the ensuring loss of land and community traditional practices. Robert Chambers 1980s action research on rural development further expanded the concept of resilient livelihoods in the face of external shocks and crises and ways to build resiliency in the face of chronic vulnerability and unexpected external shocks and crises, both internal and external. Edward Carr further conceptualizes resilience as “not the mere response to specific impacts as much as the ability to respond over time, recover and return to normality after confronting abnormal, alarming, and often unexpected threats.” In attempting “to address the questions of resilience of what and resilience to what.” Raymond Tutu and Janice Busingye point out the need to further investigate the resilience attributes like “stressors driving change,” “anticipatory learning,” and “social capital.” This call for papers invites scholars and practitioners to debate, within the African continent context, effective and innovative strategies to enhance communities’ ability to prepare for, cope with, rebound from and adapt as needed to unexpected events and threats facing their local systems and livelihoods. SAPA's academic affairs committee welcomes the submission of proposals for individual papers and fully formed panels in alignment with the symposium theme. Please submit your proposal to Shin Kue Ryu, SAPA academic affairs committee chair by November 30, 2023. Click here for more information.

  • 2024 SICA Call for Awards
    ASPA's Section on International and Comparative Administration (SICA) is seeking nominations for its awards program. All nominations must be received by December 15.

    The 2024 Fred Riggs Award for Lifetime Achievement in International and Comparative Public Administration: The Fred Riggs Award was established by SICA in 1985 to recognize scholars who made significant and widely recognized contributions to the conceptual, theoretical and/or operational progress in the fields of international, comparative and/or development administration. This award is named in honor of Fred W. Riggs, a pioneer in these fields and a leading founder of SICA. The award is made annually at the SICA Business Meeting held in conjunction with ASPA's Annual Conference. Each letter of nomination should indicate in some depth the person's intellectual achievements and relevant qualifications for the Fred Riggs Award. You should include the nominee's CV, as well as any other supporting documents. There should be at least two letters of recommendation with at least one letter from a SICA member. All nomination materials should be sent directly to Aroon Manoharan.

    The 2024 David Gould Scholarship: The David Gould Scholarship offers talented graduate students in the fields of public administration, public policy or international development some support to facilitate their participation in the ASPA Annual Conference. This scholarship is named in honor of David Gould, an active SICA member and long-time professor of public administration at the University of Pittsburgh. He was among those killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, December 21, 1988. Each year one or two students receive a nominal stipend ($500) to attend ASPA's Annual Conference and SICA’s Riggs Symposium. For the 2024 conference, the stipend will help students defray registration costs. In order to nominate a graduate student for a Gould Scholarship, please send a letter of nomination by a faculty member and the student’s CV to Charlene M. L. Roach.

    The 2024 Jeanne-Marie Col Leadership Award: Established by SICA in 2016, the Jeanne-Marie Col Leadership Award recognizes individual members who have made significant contributions to the development of the Section. Send all nominations to Jeanne-Marie Col Leadership Award Chair Aroon Manoharan. Letters of nomination should indicate detailed contributions of nominees to, and leadership roles within, SICA. You should include an explanation about how the nominee’s contributions have helped to transform and enrich SICA and how SICA will continue to benefit in the future from the nominee’s work. Include relevant supporting documents as well. Each nominee will require at least two letters of nomination from SICA members. The Jeanne-Marie Col Leadership Award committee will give due consideration to all nominations and related materials after the submission deadline. The committee will announce the winner in January 2024 and present the award at the SICA Business Meeting at ASPA's 2024 Annual Conference.

  • Public Budgeting & Finance Call for Papers
    Since 1981 scholars and practitioners of applied government finance have turned to Public Budgeting & Finance to find understandable, reliable, thoughtful and critical analyses of the issues and practices important to the field. In this spirit, Public Budgeting & Finance invites contributions to a special issue focused on property tax administration and policy. Editors are seeking two types of contributions in the special issue: (1) full manuscripts containing original research; (2) proposals providing commentary on policy and/or practice. Completed manuscripts containing original research will be peer-reviewed on an expedited basis. Full manuscripts should be sent no later than December 31, 2023. Editors are especially interested in high-quality empirical manuscripts that explore and provide evidence relevant to policy and/or practice. The papers can intersect with property tax administration in any way. Editors are interested in all aspects of property tax administration, as well as topics that focus on the intersection of the property tax and public policy issues of enduring societal importance. Major considerations will be high-credibility research and topics of broad importance with the potential to influence subsequent policy and research. Manuscripts should be submitted via the PB&F submission website as a new submission toward a special issue. Editors also invite commentary proposals that will undergo editorial review (not peer review). These submissions can be commentaries on current policies or the state of research. Editors also would welcome teams proposing “point and counterpoint” essays that respond to one another. Proposals should include a working title and an abstract or thesis statement not to exceed 250 words. Editors will invite authors of selected proposals to submit full essays not to exceed 5,000 words. Send proposals to [email protected] no later than December 31, 2023. For questions, please reach out to co-editors Craig Johnson and Justin Ross. Click here for more information.

  • Public Money and Management Call for Manuscripts
    Public Money and Management will publish a theme issue in 2024 that comparatively explores the recruitment, training and retention of senior public officials. There have been many changes in approach to the recruitment, training and retention of senior public officials in different regions across the globe, including a general trend away from purely merit-based recruitment toward the focus on and acquisition of definable skills. This has occurred alongside a more nuanced recognition of the need to reflect greater diversity in the background of public officials in many countries. In the drive to gain more efficient and effective delivery of public services, and to overcome the wicked problems often grappled within the public sector, the move to skills-based recruitment and training alongside attention to equality and diversity concerns frequently coincide in modernization drives. This theme seeks to solicit articles from an international range of sources to address the question: How should we recruit and retain a public service fit for purpose and what will it look like? All research articles are due November 20; debate and ND articles are due January 31, 2024. Click here for more information.

  • 2024 COMPA Conference Call for Proposals
    The COMPA 2024 conference will take place February 25-28 in New Orleans. The theme is "Reshaping Public Administration: A Search for Self-Determined, Participatory and Sustainable Governments." The conference serves as a call to all public servants—scholars, public and nonprofit practitioners, and community advocates and stakeholders—who seek to rethink the future of local communities by revisiting past and present experiences as the foundation for engaging debate on reshaping self-determined, participatory and sustainable local community initiatives. COMPA 2024 challenges public administrators, researchers, scholars, policy wonks, think tanks, nonprofits, faculty, students and both scholars and practitioners across multiple fields and professions to rethink the future of local communities by revisiting past and present experiences as the foundation for engaging debate and reshaping self-determined, participatory and sustainable local community initiatives. We will examine the future of local government and tackle those issues that most directly impact each of us. We welcome research and praxis from different backgrounds and methodological orientations, current updates to traditional models and frameworks, and other emergent perspectives on all issues of public service related to the theme. All proposals are due December 15. Click here for more information.



Here's a selection of current pieces on PA TIMES Online, covering a range of issues within the profession. We accept individual articles on a rolling basis; if you have a piece you think would fit our publication, submit it to [email protected] for consideration. (Please review our submission guidelines in advance!)



American Society for Public Administration
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Please send inquiries to Managing Editor Karen E. T. Garrett.