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

February 24, 2021

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In This Issue:

#ASPA2021—Now Announcing Conference Sessions!

The moment you have been waiting for has arrived: We have posted this year's conference sessions to our website. Listed by date/time and searchable by name, this list is a treasure trove of information about the sessions happening at #ASPA2021—with more to be added in the days ahead.

This year’s all-digital conference will feature the same amount of content as all of our conferences. More than 150 sessions, featuring more than 900 speakers, will provide the bulk of the content presented throughout our seven-day event. Even better, all sessions will be recorded, so attendees can come back to content and listen to it after the session is over.

Segmented into our six tracks, you can expect robust dialogue about the state of public administration in our current context. Here's a sample of what is being planned:

  • “Fixing” Our Government
    (Sponsored by Tarleton State University)

    • Reimagining Our Cities Using the Compassionate Cities Index
    • Maximizing Job Performance in Challenging Times
    • Ethics for Contemporary Bureaucrats
    • Policy, Data and Communication in a Context of Uncertainty
  • Beyond Borders: Joining Forces for Shared Learning and Action
    • Teaching, the Student Experience and University Learning in Times of COVID-19
    • Restoring the Administrative State: Exploring New Perspectives
    • Governments' Responses to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic
  • Good Governance and Meaningful Public Service
    (Sponsored by Brigham Young University, Marriott School of Business)

    • Seeking to Improve Organizations
    • How to Not Get Published: An Open Dialogue Between Editors and the PA Community
    • Multiple Dimensions of Leadership in a Complex World
    • When Leadership Is Needed
  • Modern Infrastructure for a 21st Century Society
    (Sponsored by the University of Minnesota, Humphrey School of Public Affairs)

    • Oil and Gas Management Challenges in the Post-Trump Era
    • Policy Perspectives on Coastal Climate Change
    • Procurement and Contracting Out
    • Infrastructure Planning
  • Money Talks: The Use and Management of Public Funds to Meet Today's Challenges
    • Public Procurement Solutions for Today's Challenges
    • Competition for Scarce Funding
    • Equity in Budgeting
    • Understanding Public-Private Partnerships across Diverse Nations
  • Social Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: More Than a Seat at the Table
    (Sponsored by the University of Colorado Denver)

    • Policing, Public Safety and Social Equity: Police Reform
    • Race and (In)Equity: Government Perspectives
    • Identity, Race and Power: Starting with Self
    • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Public Organizations
This is just the beginning. Even more, for those particularly interested in sessions hosted by our Chapters and Sections, you can find those panels listed specially on our website here. Nineteen Chapters and Sections have contributed their expertise to this year’s event, providing attendees with subject-focused panels around their interest areas. Check out the list and plan to listen to these sessions.

Get ready to be a part of these discussions. An all-digital conference means you can listen to these presentations, engage with our speakers, chat with a wide range of attendees and get a broad view of the expertise present across our profession—all without leaving your desk!

Registration rates are simple—$175 (full) and $50 (students)—and provide you with access to everything this spring's event has to offer. Professors: Sponsor your students to attend when you register yourself. This will be an excellent opportunity to help your students gain a broader understanding of everything public administration and public policy has to offer!

More information continues to be posted online every day! Check out our website and social media, and contact us with any questions you have!

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Census Bureau Delays Data Until September 2021

The Census Bureau announced last week that it has pushed back the deadline by which it will release population figures to Congress to September 30—six months beyond the usual March 31 deadline and two months past its previously announced July 31 deadline.

Challenges with finalizing the data are generated mostly from the problems the COVID-19 pandemic created in generating the counts last year, including college dorms and housing for agricultural workers. Census workers are now working to locate these individuals properly, while also making sure they’re not double-counted. As locating millions of people is in play, and reapportionment/redistricting hangs in the balance, the agency is working hard to ensure the final data is as accurate as possible.

Of course, the most immediate repercussions for delays in data will be seen in preparing for the next round of elections, as states and localities look to redistrict their populations based on the data reported. However, citizens will also feel these repercussions within social service distribution and the public financing behind those efforts.

Read more about via this article from the New York Times.

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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 Students and New Professionals series programming. Members, visit our webinar archives to catch up on what you have missed!

More programs are coming next month. In the meantime, take a look at this week's suggestion for an excellent archived program to watch!

From the Webinar Archives
How do you measure progress toward worthy goals like ending homelessness, responding to health emergencies or advancing human rights? What results can nonprofits and social enterprises reasonably measure and for which can they legitimately take credit? How can measurement be used strategically so it is useful for decisionmaking? ASPA hosted Measuring Social Change: From a Niche to an Ecosystem Strategy this past fall and you can find it in our webinar archives to hear more about this discussion.

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Chapter and Section Leaders: Save These Dates!

If you are a Chapter or Section leader, please keep the following upcoming dates on your radar!

Chapter and Section Leaders' Networking Call: The next Chapter/Section networking call will take place next Thursday, March 4, at 11 a.m. ET. Featuring our now-usual opportunity for leaders to share best practices, lessons learned, upcoming events and programming and more, this call will provide you with plenty of time to connect with each other and share details about everything happening in your group. Register online here.

Annual Information Forms Are Due! All Chapter and Section information forms are due next Friday, March 5. Please make sure you are on time—it will save time in processing your forms, and any upcoming rebates! If you need a form, please contact us or visit our website to download a copy.

Let us know if you have any questions, and we'll look forward to "seeing" many leaders online next week!

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House Government Operations Subcommittee Looks at Federal Workforce

The House of Representatives' Government Operations Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), hosted a hearing this week looking at the current state of the federal workforce and "actions that are necessary to repair, rebuild and fortify it for the future." This hearing primarily focused on issues related to unions in government and the Trump administration's "Schedule F" executive order from this past fall. Other issues included recruiting young talent into the federal government and the current status of the Merit Systems Protection Board.

Witnesses included ASPA past president Janice Lachance, American Federation of Government Employees union President Everett Kelley and Professor Anne O'Connell (Stanford). (You can find Janice’s testimony online here.)

While President Biden reversed executive order 13957 (which created Schedule F) the first week he was in office, there is reason to believe the principle behind it—stripping civil servants of all hiring protections—may find its way into future legislation. Rep. Connolly is working to advance legislation that will prevent these actions in any form. ASPA will continue to monitor this legislation and provide future updates.

Read more about yesterday's hearing and the arguments related to the federal workforce online here via Federal Times.

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Biden Institute Special Event: A Conversation with Pete Souza

The Biden Institute at the University of Delaware will be hosting a special event on March 9: “Behind the Lens Featuring Pete Souza”. Souza is former White House photographer to Presidents Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan and will be sharing some of his historic photos and the stories behind them. This will be a fascinating event. Save the date for March 9 at 7 p.m. ET. More details and a registration link can be found online.

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Public Integrity Announces New ASPA Partnership

Public Integrity's editorial team is excited to announce a new partnership with ASPA's Student and New Professionals Section to mentor new scholars with an interest in publishing in the journal.

According to editorial team: "Public Integrity is committed to fostering diverse voices in ethics in public administration research, this partnership is a key part of that strategy. Our goal is to facilitate the development of emerging scholars in the field, inviting fresh perspectives to the journal."

Students and new scholars interested in being a part of the mentoring program can participate by submitting manuscripts for consideration to the journal with a cover letter describing their research project and their plan for how their manuscript would benefit from this program.

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Tips and Resources

Here are a range of resources posted online recently that you should check out!

How to Use Hope to Overcome Stress and Anxiety
2020 has revealed that the feeling we most yearn for in life is hope. Without it, we have no defense against despair, depression and burnout. The reason is because hope is about the future, not the bad stuff that's already raised its ugly head.

Dogs Can Sniff Out COVID-19 in Human Sweat
New research adds to a small but growing consensus that trained medical scent dogs can effectively screen individuals who may be infected with the COVID-19 virus by smell.

Catching COVID from Surfaces Is Very Unlikely. So Perhaps We Can Ease Up on the Disinfecting
Surface transmission is possible and does pose risks in certain situations. But the threat is relatively small.

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Coronavirus in the News
While you can find our usual assortment of news headlines from the past several weeks below, here are stories specific to the coronavirus that are noteworthy.


Public Finance Public Service Social Equity Back to Top


(Otherwise) 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
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Members in the News

ASPA members are in the news in a variety of ways. If you have been featured, please send a link to the article to us and we will be happy to include it in a future newsletter.

Public Service Is Overlooked in Government
From Jim Perry, this op-ed reminds readers that public service motivation is one of the primary reasons people pursue careers in government—and that this holds tremendous potential for the future of the public sector.

Organizing for Recovery
From Ed DeSeve and Mark Pisano, this op-ed provides commentary related to President Biden's American Rescue Plan and offers advice for how to best accomplish it.

GovExec Daily: Ten Years of Federal Performance Management
ASPA member and #ASPA2021 Donald C. Stone Lecturer Don Moynihan joined the GovExec podcast to talk about the 10 years of the Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act.

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Welcome New ASPA Members!
Click here to view the most recent new ASPA members!

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:

  • South Florida Chapter Podcast Release
    "Public Sector Works!" has released a new episode celebrating Black History Month! Their special guest, Valerie Patterson, director, African and diaspora studies/clinical professor of public administration at FIU School of International & Public Affairs, will speak to individuals whose contributions stand out in her mind and other topics. "Public Sector Works!" episodes are available on all typical podcast channels.

  • 2021 COMPA Conference
    February 25-28, 2021
    Register here.

  • Hampton Roads, Virginia Chapter Annual Research Symposium
    March 18, 2021, 8:30 a.m. - Noon
    The Chapter will be exploring how public and nonprofit agencies seek to identify the evolving needs and expectations of the communities they serve in a dynamic political, economic and social environment.

  • ASPA Georgia Chapter 22nd Annual Conference and Annual Meeting
    Online (hosted by Savannah State University)
    March 26-27, 2021
    Theme: "A Salute to Public Service: People, Policies and Programs Making a Difference"
    Proposals will be accepted through March 5, 2021.

  • 2021 ASPA Annual Conference
    Online, April 9-15
    Theme: "Picking Up the Pieces: Pandemic, Protests and the Future of Public Service"
    Registration is now open!

  • NISPAcee Annual Conference 2021
    Ljubljana, Slovenia
    May 20-22, 2021
    Theme: "Citizens' Engagement and Empowerment—The Era of Collaborative Innovation in Governance"
    The steering committee continues to evaluate the COVID-19 situation to determine if it will be safe to have attendees in Slovenia in May. If not, the conference will be postponed to October 2021.

  • 2021 PA Theory Annual Conference
    Portland, Oregon
    June 3-6
    Theme: "Administrative (Dys)function and Dedication: Contradictions in Public Service Values"

Calls for proposals, nominations and announcements:
  • ASPA Georgia Chapter 22nd Annual Meeting Call for Papers
    The 22nd Annual ASPA Georgia Chapter Academic Conference and Annual Meeting, March 26-27, welcomes innovative proposals that reflect best practices, rethinking of current practices, represent benchmarks, lessons learned with a focus on the future of the field. The overall program will result in a diverse array of presenters and perspectives, including those within a diversity of disciplines, various levels of experience, and institutional and organizational affiliations. The theme for the conference is, "A Salute to Public Service: People, Policies, and Programs Making a Difference," shedding light on best practices and confronting challenges, success stories and solutions involving people, policies and programs in public and nonprofit organizations. Nine tracks will provide for robust dialogue on topics including public service, social equity, infrastructure, security and emergency management, nonprofit leadership, public finance and more. The proposals deadline has been extended to March 5, 2021.
    Click here for more information.

  • South Florida Chapter Now Accepting Scholarship Nominations
    The South Florida Chapter annually awards five scholarships to excellent students. While the application period for three of them has closed, two are still open. Details are as follows:

    The Girls in Government Scholarship application deadline is March 1, 2021. Applicants must submit via email a 700-word article or 2 1/2 to 3-minute video explaining, "Why Women in Local Government and How Can Agencies Increase the Number of Women in Leadership Positions?" Click here for more information.

    Meek Foundation Scholarship Award application is due on March 1, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. Applicants are competing for scholarships up to $1,000 and no less than $500. Click here for more information.

  • The Marc Holzer Public Performance Symposium, Public Performance Conference
    As an addendum to ASPA's Annual Conference, taking place digitally April 9-15, ASPA's Section on Public Performance Management (SPPM) and the National Center for Public Performance are seeking proposals, papers and fully formed panels for the Marc Holzer Public Performance Symposium, under the theme, "International Best Practices: Establishing Generally Accepted Performance Principles." Symposium co-chairs are Prajapati Trivedi (The Commonwealth) and Marc Fudge (University of California, San Bernardino and Chair, ASPA Section on Public Performance Management). The symposium will convene two parallel tracks: one of invited participants presenting best practice panels on performance improvement practices across the globe and a second based on open submissions presenting independent perspectives on best practices. The critiques and products of both dialogues will help comprise a published set of guidelines, with an expected Fall 2021 publication date. Proposals are open to participants from all facets of the public performance community and related networks. All panelists must register; fees are: $0 for SPPM members; $25 for other ASPA members; $50 for all others. (Registration for this symposium is separate from the ASPA Annual Conference.) All proposals are due March 1, 2021 to Elaine Yi Lu, Performance Conference Program Co-Chair, John Jay College, City University of New York; and Aroon Manoharan, Performance Conference Program Co-Chair, University of Massachusetts—Boston.

  • Sustainability Issues Call for Papers for Special Issue
    The journal, Sustainability, has issued a call for papers for a special issue: "Building Smart and Sustainable Cities: Emerging Technologies and Innovation for Digital-Era Governance and Long-Term Impacts." Although cities around the world already are implementing an array of initiatives in an attempt to become smarter, there is still no consensus among researchers and practitioners about what should be included or not in the conceptualization of "smartness." However, it seems to be clear now that smart cities are not only about harnessing the potential of new data and emergent information technologies, but also that many other components are essential to achieve some of the promises in terms of better services and improved quality of life. No matter what definition scholars and practitioners use, smart city success should involve being sustainable in the medium- and long-term. This special issue attempts to address a research need in terms of studies focusing on the (ecological, economic, social, and political) sustainability of smart cities. Manuscripts will be accepted until March 1, 2021.
    Find the call online here.

  • Journal of the Social Sciences Call for Articles
    The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences has issued a call for articles for a special issue on "Social and Economic Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic." The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare and exacerbated many of the structural inequalities in the United States. Within a few months of the first documented community transmission, nearly one quarter of the workforce filed for unemployment benefits, with low income workers and those with less flexibility in scheduling and the ability to work remotely disproportionately experiencing job loss. Meanwhile, workers deemed essential, from health care providers, to supermarket employees, to delivery workers, bore the brunt of exposure to infection, while others sheltered in place under state and local orders. These unequal labor market experiences may have exacerbated existing inequalities in material hardship, household economic insecurity and poverty, but the impacts of the pandemic may have also exposed previously economically secure groups to insecurity. In this issue, we invite original research contributions pertaining to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on socioeconomic inequality in the United States and in particular how pre-existing inequalities may have mediated the impact of the pandemic and in turn been exacerbated by the current crisis. We particularly are interested in studies that focus on how institutions, ranging from the health care system, corrections and criminal justice, childcare policies, social safety net programs, and labor market policies have either mitigated or exacerbated the impact of the pandemic on social and economic outcomes as well as studies that focus on the likely longer-term impacts of the pandemic on inequality in the United States. All proposals are due no later than 5 p.m. EST on March 10, 2021.
    Click here to submit an abstract and contact [email protected] for more information.

  • 2021 Annual E-PARCC Teaching Case and Simulation Competition
    The Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC) at the Syracuse University Maxwell School is sponsoring its 15th annual E-PARCC competition to further stimulate the creation of effective and innovative teaching cases and simulations. E-PARCC, a project of the "Collaborative Governance Initiative," provides free online resources for those who teach conflict and collaboration around the world. More than 3,000 visitors per month from more than 40 different countries take advantage of E-PARCC teaching materials. The E-PARCC competition now consists of two tracks: (1) collaborative problem solving, collaborative governance, and network governance and analysis, and (2) collaborative methods in international development. All entries are due by March 15.
    Find more information online here.

  • Journal of Emergency Management Special Issue: Analysis of Pre- and Post-Disaster Response and Recovery Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
    The Journal of Emergency Management (JEM) Editorial Review Board invites the submission of original research papers, brief communications, case studies, etc. supporting a special issue: “Analysis of Pre and Post Disaster Response and Recovery due to the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic.” As we transcend this global pandemic, the goal is to bring together a complete and comprehensive accounting of the event and its post mortem. This may include a pre-disaster assessment of the state of preparation as well as any post-disaster response, preparedness, mitigation and recovery. We expect this to be a comprehensive look at what went wrong and just as important, what went right. Manuscripts will be accepted for review immediately and will continue (tentatively) through the first quarter of 2021.
    Find the Call for Proposals online here.

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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!)

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Please send inquiries to Managing Editor Karen E. T. Garrett.