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

March 24, 2021

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In This Issue:

Annual Conference Plenaries Provide Panorama of the Profession

ASPA's Annual Conference is less than three weeks away and will be epic. Featuring 160 concurrent sessions, nine plenaries, seven presidential panels, an exhibit hall, networking opportunities and more, you won't want to miss this year's event! While many attendees focus on the concurrent sessions that will be available throughout the event, this year's plenary speakers will offer a perfect representation of everything public administration and public policy offers, at all levels.

Opening Plenary
Lisa Garrett (Director of Personnel, Los Angeles County)

Friday, April 9 | Noon ET

Join us for this opening keynote as Lisa Garrett shares her decades of experience in county management. Not only will she discuss some of the successes Los Angeles County has experienced in managing its substantial workforce, but also the ways her department has worked with County personnel throughout the pandemic to ensure they have the tools they need to keep the County on its feet, while staying on theirs.

Gloria Hobson Nordin Social Equity Lecture
Terryl Ross (Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, University of Washington College of the Environment)

Sunday, April 11 | 2:15 p.m. ET

Terryl Ross has more than 30 years of experience related to equity and social justice. Specifically, he specializes in examining the intersectionality of race, changing demographics, emerging trends, higher education and new media. He believes the 21st century will be a time of scarcity and reduction, resulting in a struggle between those who want to bring people together and those who want to divide them. He believes people are ready to come together in a new way to build learning communities and proactively make social justice a reality in America.

Global Plenary
Jason DeParle (Author, New York Times)

Monday, April 12 | 9:30 a.m. ET

While the politics of immigration are broken, Jason DeParle shows that immigration itself—tens of millions of people gathered from every corner of the world—remains an under-appreciated American success. Weaving narrative and analysis, DeParle reports on migration from places as far flung as Ireland, Cape Verde and Nepal, and traces its impact on events as disparate as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.

DeParle also will join us Monday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. ET for an open-mic Q&A for anyone who misses his morning lecture.

Nesta M. Gallas Lecture
Secretary Leon Panetta (Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Founder, Panetta Institute for Public Policy, California State University—Monterey Bay)

Monday, April 12 | 1:30 p.m. ET

Secretary Panetta has had a long and storied career in public service, including serving in Congress, as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, director of the CIA and most recently as Secretary of Defense. He and his wife founded the Panetta Institute for Public Policy to attract thoughtful men and women to lives of public service and prepare them for the policy challenges of the future.

Panetta will be interviewed by journalist Tim Clark about his institute, his years of service and what public service holds for future generations.

Elliot Richardson Lecture
Mariko Silver (President and CEO, Henry Luce Foundation)

Tuesday, April 13 | 3:00 p.m. ET

Mariko Silver is the president and CEO of the Henry Luce Foundation. She previously was the president of Bennington College and, before that, served in the Obama administration at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as acting assistant secretary and deputy assistant secretary for international policy. She was responsible for representing the U.S. government, leading negotiations and collaborations with foreign governments and international organizations, and supporting more than 2,000 department personnel deployed overseas.

Silver will engage in a discussion with Valerie Lemmie of the Kettering Foundation around trust in government, systems and structures of power and how to find your own power no matter your role.

A Focus on Community
Toni Carter (Chair of the Board of Commissioners, Ramsey County, Minnesota)

Tuesday, April 13 | 6:00 p.m. ET

Toni Carter's focus in Ramsey County is on community building to improve the neighborhoods where you work, live and play. She has led the county on important issues at the local, state and national level and is committed to delivering efficient and effective county services, eliminating disparities and raising grassroots awareness of county decisionmaking processes and systems. She will share with us what she has learned after 30 years in county government and reflect on the importance of community throughout public service.

Donald C. Stone Lecture
Donald Moynihan (McCourt Chair, Georgetown University)

Wednesday, April 14 | 1:00 p.m. ET

Donald Moynihan is the inaugural McCourt Chair at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. His research examines how to improve how government works and his lecture will look at the role of administrative burdens on public service. The last decade has seen new interest in the study of the frictions people encounter in their interactions with public services, such as getting a driver's license, accessing the social safety net or pursuing basic civil rights like voting. These burdens can have big effects, reinforce patterns of inequality and be used in deliberate ways to make programs less accessible and more frustrating to the public. They also present a challenge to public administration to demonstrate both relevance and rigor in a topic the public cares about and matters to policy outcomes. Join us to hear new research on administrative burdens and compare different approaches by the Trump and Biden administrations.

Antiracism Lecture
Ibram X. Kendi (Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, Boston University and Founding Director, BU Center for Antiracist Research)

Wednesday, April 14 | 4:00 p.m. ET

Ibram X. Kendi is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News racial justice contributor. He is the 2020-2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. He also is the author of many books including Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, making him the youngest ever winner of that award. He also authored three #1 New York Times bestsellers, How to Be an Antiracist; Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, co-authored with Jason Reynolds; and Antiracist Baby, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky. His newest books are Be Antiracist: A Journal for Awareness, Reflection, and Action; and Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, co-edited with Keisha Blain. In 2020, Time magazine named Kendi one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Professor Kendi will be interviewed by Susan T. Gooden, dean and professor at The L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University, as they discuss antiracism and its role in public administration.

Closing Plenary
Thursday, April 15 | 2:15 p.m. ET

Join us for our closing plenary as we give out awards, hear from ASPA leaders and swear in the 2021-2022 National Council. ASPA Executive Director Bill Shields, Jr. and Incoming President Allan Rosenbaum also will make remarks.

There's a lot going on at the 2021 Annual Conference. Register now to join us for seven days of cutting edge research and thought leadership as we "Pick Up the Pieces" of the past year and take steps into what comes next.

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Support the Founders' Fellows Program!

ASPA's Founders' Fellows program is our premier opportunity to recognize and support the accomplishments of the next generation of public servants in the academic and practitioner communities. You can support this important program today with a tax-deductible donation.

"ASPA's Founders' Fellows program is one of the best ways for public administration students and new professionals to expand their networks, participate in groundbreaking research and learn from some of the biggest names in the field," write Founders' Fellows committee co-chairs Jessica Sowa and Ken Weaver. "Our committee is incredibly pleased with the caliber of the incoming cohort of Fellows and we look forward to their year in this exciting program."

As a result of your financial support, Fellows will receive developmental opportunities designed especially for their professional growth, present their research during the Annual Conference next month, participate in customized programming throughout the year to come and meet individually with mentors who are matched with them based on academic and professional interests.

This program's support is made possible through this community's generosity, with the vast majority of contributions coming from Chapters, Sections and individual members. If you are passionate about the future of public service and want to demonstrate your support of this important program, click here to donate.

View our list of 2021 contributors online here.

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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!

BookTalk: The Dynamics of Risk: Changing Technologies and Collective Action in Seismic Events
April 27 | 1 p.m. ET
Louise Comfort, University of Pittsburgh, GSPIA

Moved to April 27, this BookTalk will examine the changing process of decisionmaking among multiple organizations operating at different levels of authority in the uncertain conditions of extreme events. It uses the shared hazard of seismic risk to examine how 12 communities in nine different countries responded to the trauma of sudden, urgent destruction from earthquakes, and began the painful process of reconstruction and recovery. Having received the Don K. Price Award for Best Book of 2020 from the Section on Technology and Environmental Policy of the American Political Science Association, this BookTalk will discuss some excellent material. Plan now to join us!

From the Webinar Archives
The municipal government of the District of Columbia is a recognized leader in asset management and infrastructure renewal planning. Those who attended our webinar this fall, "How the District of Columbia Has Become a Leader in Asset Management," learned about the District's approach through the lens of the Government Finance Officers Association's Financial Foundations for Thriving Communities, showing leadership strategies and institutional designs needed for a strong financial foundation. This lens makes it easier for local governments to not just replicate the technical aspects of what the District has done but also invent approaches to asset management that best fit local conditions.

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ASPA Partners with CPS HR to Help Members Build Employee Engagement

Public sector organizations across the nation are facing enormous challenges, including maintaining performance and services despite COVID-19. To succeed in this difficult environment, government needs talented, committed and engaged employees.

Decades of research, including in the public sector, have shown that a high level of employee engagement drives productivity, organizational performance, strategic goal achievement, employee retention, and customer service and satisfaction. Highly engaged employees believe in their organization’s purpose and find their work meaningful and rewarding. As a result, they are highly motivated to help achieve their organization’s mission. This is especially important now, as public sector organizations experience first-hand the demand to do more with less—and even more with even less.

To meet this challenge, ASPA is partnering with the CPS HR Consulting Institute for Public Sector Employee Engagement to provide ASPA members and public sector organizations across the country with the tools and resources needed to understand, measure and improve employee engagement.

The Institute will survey your employees to enable you to understand the level of engagement in your workforce and what influences your employees’ engagement. CPS HR also will provide recommendations to help you create a more engaged workforce, thereby improving performance and service delivery.

The Institute has helped government organizations across the country measure and improve engagement. According to one government leader, "We selected the CPS HR Institute because of its holistic approach to engagement. Not just conducting the survey but also analyzing the results and helping us decide how to take action to improve engagement."

To learn more about how you can improve performance and service delivery by improving employee engagement, visit the CPC HR website or contact ASPA.

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What Is in the American Rescue Plan?

In case you lost track, (according to the Peterson Foundation) lawmakers have passed a total of six major COVID relief bills, at a cost of $5.3 trillion, to help our nation cope with the devastating health and economic impacts of the pandemic. The latest bill, the American Rescue Plan, comes with a $1.9 trillion price tag and includes everything from direct payments to certain taxpayers to aid for local governments.

The Peterson Foundation's website provides a breakdown of the key components including direct payments; direct aid to state, local and Tribal governments; expansion of unemployment benefits; tax incentives; public health and related spending; educational support and other programs.

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NAPA Opens Elliot L. Richardson Prize Call for Nominations

The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) has opened its nominations for the 2021 Elliot L. Richardson Prize. This award recognizes one or more individuals for extraordinary public service in the tradition of Elliot Richardson, who served as a beacon of integrity and commitment to the public service. Richardson was a NAPA fellow and served in four Cabinet-level positions in the U.S. government, including Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General and Secretary of Commerce. Shortly after his death on December 31, 1999, several friends and admirers decided to establish a prize in his honor. The bylaws of the Prize specify that it is to be awarded to individuals "possessing the public service virtues exemplified by Elliot L. Richardson"; that such individuals "shall have demonstrated achievement, be significantly advancing the public good, and long-term dedication to public service, by serving the public interest in a public service capacity"; and that individuals selected to receive the Prize "shall have demonstrated generosity of spirit, thoughtfulness in the pursuit of excellence in government, courage and integrity." The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2021. Click here for more information.

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Upcoming Events from the Biden Institute

The Biden Institute at the University of Delaware is pleased to invite ASPA members to join them for two upcoming discussions.

A Special Event Featuring Chris Krebs
Warfare has changed. As our society has become more globally connected and reliant on technology, the threat of cyberattacks from both foreign and domestic actors has become a greater risk. The Biden Institute is proud to host former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Christopher Krebs for a virtual event on cybersecurity, one of the most critical national security issues we face. (CISA will be awarded ASPA's Public Integrity Award during the Annual Conference on April 14.) Join the Biden Institute on Wednesday, March 31 at 6:00 p.m. ET to discuss Krebs' insights on the risks we are facing and what we can do about it. Click here to register.

A Special Event Featuring David Beasley
The fight against hunger is growing more and more critical, with rates steadily rising because of persistent conflict, the impact of climate change and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. From college campuses to war-torn countries around the globe, hunger effects one in nine people worldwide. Join the Biden Institute for a conversation on food insecurity featuring World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley. As the director of the world's leading humanitarian organization committed to ending hunger, Beasley will discuss his organization's work to feed the world and its contributions to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas. This event will take place Wednesday, April 7 at Noon ET. Click here to register.

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New from Public Administration Review

The most recent edition of Public Administration Review is available online. Find the full edition here; a few highlights include:

Do More Options Always Benefit the Users of Public Services? An Experimental Study of School Choice, Performance, and Satisfaction Ivan P. Lee, Sebastian Jilke and Oliver James

Different Processes, Different Outcomes? Assessing the Individual‐Level Impacts of Public Participation
Suyeon Jo and Tina Nabatchi

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

Agile: A New Way of Governing
Ines Mergel, Sukumar Ganapati and Andrew B. Whitford

When Local Governments Request Access to Data: Power and Coordination Mechanisms across Stakeholders
Federica Fusi

What Determines Where Public Investment Goes? Regional Governance and the Role of Institutional Rules and Power
Brian Y. An and Raphael W. Bostic

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Tips and Resources

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

Billions of Cicadas May Be Coming Soon to Trees Near You
A big event in the insect world is approaching. Starting sometime in April or May, depending on latitude, one of the largest broods of 17-year cicadas will emerge from underground in a dozen states, from New York west to Illinois and south into northern Georgia.

You're Not Fully Vaccinated the Day of Your Last Dose
Immunity to the coronavirus doesn't magically manifest the day someone gets a shot. The CDC does not grant membership to the "fully vaccinated" club until at least two weeks after the final dose in a vaccine regimen—a time that roughly corresponds to when most people are thought to acquire enough immunity to defend against a symptomatic case of COVID-19. Only then, the agency announced last week, can vaccinees start to carefully change their behavior, mingling maskless in small groups indoors, visiting the unvaccinated on a limited basis and skipping postexposure quarantines.

'Microbreaks' Keep You More Engaged on Tough Work Days
Microbreaks could be having a snack, chatting with a colleague, stretching or working on a crossword puzzle.

Don't Be Surprised When Vaccinated People Get Infected
Post-immunization cases, sometimes called "breakthroughs," are very rare and very expected.

Following Your Gut Isn't the Right Way to Go
We spend a lot of time telling people to trust experts and stop obsessing about the rarity of their failure. That was before a crisis in which millions of lives were dependent on a working relationship between science and government. Now that we all must heed this advice again, it's natural to feel some anxiety. We all need to come back to our senses about expertise.

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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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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:

  • 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"

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

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

  • 2021 Korean Association for Public Administration (KAPA) International Conference
    Online, June 23-25
    Theme: "Restructuring Government and Public Service to the Era of Digital Transformation and Pandemic"
    All proposals are due April 10; registration is required by June 20. Send questions to [email protected]

  • NISPAcee Annual Conference 2021
    Ljubljana, Slovenia | October 21-23
    Theme: "Citizens' Engagement and Empowerment—The Era of Collaborative Innovation in Governance"
    This conference has been moved from May 2021 to the fall to enable in-person attendance. The Call for Papers will be re-opened shortly to accommodate this change of schedule. More details will be printed here as they are announced.

Calls for proposals, nominations and announcements:
  • SPAR Awards Best Book Award to Alasdair Roberts
    Strategies for Governing: Reinventing Public Administration for a Dangerous Century, by Alasdair Roberts, was selected for the ASPA Section on Public Administration Research (SPAR) Award for the Best Book Published in Public Administration during 2019/2020. This year's competition was particularly strong, with 23 quality books nominated for review. Roberts' book begins with the observation that "...billions of people on this planet suffer terribly because governments cannot perform basic functions properly." This book challenges researchers and practitioners in the field to contemplate how we can "recover the fundamentals of government," and addresses the urgent and fundamental issues we are facing today. The book takes a thoughtful interdisciplinary approach, drawing on public administration history and theory, administrative process development in political science, fragile states research in international relations, and institutional design, presenting an expansive view of the capacities and new directions for public administration as a field of research, teaching, and practice. The nomination letter by ASPA Past President Chester Newland notes this distinctive quality of the book and emphasizes that in light of the "currently urgent realities of the field, the analysis is certain to be a lasting contribution." Roberts will be recognized for this accomplishment at the SPAR Membership Meeting on Monday, April 12 at 3:00 p.m. ET, during the 2021 ASPA Annual Conference.

  • 2021 Korean Association for Public Administration (KAPA) International Conference
    The KAPA 2021 Annual International Conference brings scholars and practitioners together to discuss important current and emerging issues and solutions in the public sector. As an unprecedented wake-up call, the pandemic crisis makes the trajectories of government actions uncertain and challengeable, more than ever. Governments around the world have grappled with numerous organizational, managerial, and policy challenges. In responding to problems and limitations, governments have modernized quickly and accelerated innovative digital uptake to navigate an uncertain future. This year’s conference, "Restructuring Government and Public Service to the Era of Digital Transformation and Pandemic," commits to exchange research and practical insights for old problems to be addressed and restructured to provide new solutions as we move toward a new normal. Tracks include: cross-border collaboration and governance; sustainable development and growth; challenges, opportunities and solutions; social equity and inclusive society; and new transition and practices in public administration. All proposals are due by April 10, 2021.
    Contact Lindsey Lee for more information.

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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.