March 29, 2017

ASPA Website | PA

In This Issue:

Saluting the Bold and Noble

ASPA's 2017 Annual Conference, which took place March 17-21 in Atlanta, centered around the theme, “Saluting the Public Service: A Bold and Noble Profession,” and sparked discussions about what "bold" and "noble" public service looks like in the United States. It also provided a number of opportunities for ASPA and its conference attendees to honor public servants in Atlanta, throughout Georgia and across the country.

Official conference events and activities included 170 panel/workshop sessions, five plenaries, a Welcome Reception, numerous networking receptions, an exhibit hall and a career fair—and saluting public service was always top of mind.

While the conference officially began on March 17 with Section- and Chapter-led symposia and workshops, ASPA President Susan Gooden launched conference activities earlier in the week with two opportunities to honor public servants in Atlanta and Fulton County, Georgia.

The first was a trip to the Fulton County, Georgia Board of Commissioners on March 15 to accept a proclamation announcing March 17-21, 2017 as ASPA Days in Fulton County. Presented by Commissioner John Eaves, this proclamation was one of 10 given out to a variety of public service organizations and civil servants. The second opportunity, ASPA’s Salute to Public Service at the Georgia State Capitol, took place on March 16 and celebrated public servants.

“We are here to honor the great work public servants are doing here in Atlanta and throughout the country,” Gooden stated during her remarks at the event. She was joined by Virginia Tech professor emeritus and honorary conference co-chair Charles Goodsell, who provided remarks about bold and noble public service, and more than 30 fellow attendees, who enjoyed this opportunity to celebrate public servants.

These events became springboards into official conference activities and set the tone for the rest of the event.

"I developed this theme to shed a positive light on the ways our discipline impacts public servants, which will be born out through the panels and presentations given while we are here, as well as through plenaries, lectures, receptions and more," Gooden observed early in the conference. "I had the privilege of witnessing for myself some of the bold acts of public service taking place here in Fulton County when I accepted their proclamation honoring us. That same morning the County also honored emergency responders, Boys and Girls Clubs, Parks and Recreation, the Fulton County TB Taskforce and others. If that's not public administration, what is?"

Learning to Live in a Longer Now?

The opening plenary keynote, provided by indigenous nations scholar Dr. Jeff Corntassel, started the conference with an expansion of the theme and coincidentally addressed some of public administration's current and ongoing challenges. As academics and practitioners alike continue to struggle with the Trump administration's actions, as well as the ongoing negative image public servants have contracted, Corntassel's speech reminded the audience that context matters.

"There's a Cherokee concept, 'Learn to live in a longer now,'" Corntassel stated. "This doesn't mean you 'get over it'—the injustice you are facing. Instead, you discuss the context of the injustice—whether it took place yesterday or a century ago—and how that impacts today."

This concept carried through remarks heard during many of the lectures and presentations that followed throughout the conference, as speakers emphasized that public administration's job is to contextualize government's actions and recognize the past while planning for the future.

Nowhere was this more evident than in Gail Christopher's remarks at the Carter Presidential Center Library and Museum. More than 75 attendees gathered for a ticketed presidential panel looking at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Initiative, in which ASPA is a partner.

"We've had a civil war and a civil rights movement and Black Lives Matter—but our fundamental beliefs guide everything," Christopher noted. "Fear of diverse demographics is increasing in our society; love and fear cannot exist in the same space at the same time."

Christopher went on to outline the TRHT framework and the ways in which the Kellogg Foundation is working with localities across the country to start changing the conversation around race.

"It's not about race," Christopher stated. "It's about knowing our history and working to transform our society into something new."

Presidential Panels

Christopher's discussion was one of nine presidential panel discussions that related to the conference theme, while also discussing important issues within the discipline.

Led by an ASPA past president and featuring scholars and practitioners who would bring a variety of perspectives to the discussions, each of these forums brought interesting research as well as real world experience together, giving attendees a better understanding of the issues at hand.

"It was important to me that I use these panels to discuss some of the most pressing issues within public administration today," noted Gooden. "Not only did I want to honor some of ASPA's past presidents by having them lead the discussions, but also I wanted to honor the public administrators who are actively engaging in this critical work and have tremendous knowledge and leadership to share. I think we accomplished that."

"The only thing that makes me special is I was involved in a lot of events and I wasn't fired."

Thus began Admiral Thad Allen's Nesta Gallas lecture on Sunday morning and the rest of the speech that followed was just as direct and self-effacing.

Allen, best known for his performance directing the federal response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and his role at Unified Command for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, was the 23rd commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and, since his retirement, advises government personnel and others on emergency management through his role at Booz Allen Hamilton.

"Everything I've said this morning is true no matter who is in the White House," he stated. "This is beyond politics."

Observing that complexity (mingling of agencies) and coproduction (teamwork) are critical elements for successfully overcoming crises, Allen argued that today's failures of government are largely due to two factors: not keeping pace with technology and allowing regulatory frameworks to stymie problem-solving.

"No one organization or entity can solve these challenges," Allen stated. "You need to work together and make things work without regulations guiding you. Crises dictated by virtual borders—the Internet, weather, germs—do not know or care when they cross state or country lines. Government's job is to fix the problem."

The Value of People

This year's Elliot Richardson lecturer, former Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder, took the plenary stage on Sunday afternoon in front of a packed audience as he provided his observations from a lifetime in public service.

From observations about today’s political culture to reminiscing about his campaign for governor, Wilder's lecture largely emphasized to attendees the value of people.

"One thing I learned early on is to be careful about the conclusions you draw," Wilder noted. "Don't judge by appearances—people will surprise you."

Regaling attendees with tales from the campaign trail, Wilder reminded them about the public they serve. "We are a government of the people, by the people and for the people. The people are still so far ahead of the politicians and we are a nation still in search of itself."

Harder Than Rocket Science

Completing the plenary lecture slate were the Stone Lecture on Monday afternoon, given by Dr. Harvey White, and the closing plenary lecture, given on Tuesday morning by then-ASPA President-Elect Janice Lachance. Both speeches encouraged attendees to look to the future of both ASPA and the discipline.

"No discipline has had as much impact as public administration," White said. "We need to be able to better tell the story of what public administration is and does. We must define ourselves if we are to be happy with the definition."

White went on to highlight the extraordinary public administrators our discipline has brought forward and their many accomplishments, reminding attendees of our remarkable history and the tremendous skills all public administrators carry: "When you deal with human beings, as public administrators do, you have to be successful working in a variety of circumstances and environments. We've all heard the phrase, 'It's not rocket science.' No. It's harder!"

Lachance’s remarks on the final day of the conference also pointed toward a similarly challenging task: association governance. As President-Elect, her remarks outlined where she intended to focus her coming year as ASPA President, setting the stage for an ambitious agenda.

"I intend to focus on what I'm calling the Three Gs," Lachance stated. "Growth, genius and governance. We need to bring in new members, build upon the genius our members have within them and clear the governance runway so ASPA staff can advance our primary goals and mission.

"Next year cannot be a one-person mission," she said in closing. "Associations require a strong leadership, strong volunteers and excellent staff. Thank you in advance for what you'll bring to my year."

Learning to Live in a Longer Now.

Far more took place at the 2017 Annual Conference than can be encapsulated in this summary. Panels, networking receptions, special addresses, awards, happy hours and more all played key roles in creating each attendee’s experience in Atlanta.

More than 700 people served as panelists across the five-day event, presenting and critiquing research, providing on-the-ground perspectives and sharing their thoughts about best practices throughout the discipline.

More than 30 individuals and organizations took home ASPA awards, more than 50 individuals and organizations received the Chester Newland Presidential Citation of Merit and dozens more were honored with Section and Chapter awards.

More than 600 people spent time with friends and colleagues at the Welcome Reception at the Carter Presidential Center Library and Museum, on what was a beautiful spring night in Atlanta.

Most importantly, more than 1,300 public administration practitioners, researchers, scholars and students joined together to highlight best practices, salute the public service and contextualize our efforts—past, present and future—to serve society so we can continue improving our discipline. Hopefully, as a result, we've all begun to understand what it means to "live in a longer now."

Post-Conference Resources:

  • Governor Wilder autographed more than 100 copies of his memoir for attendees. ASPA has extra copies; contact us to find out how to purchase one.
  • ASPA’s photo gallery will be posted to our Flickr feed shortly. Attendees will receive notification when pictures are available to view.
  • Attendees can evaluate conference panel sessions here and the full conference here.
  • Read the proclamation ASPA issued to the State of Georgia on the conference website here.

More Than Thirty Honored with Awards at Annual Conference

More than 30 individuals and organizations were honored with ASPA awards at the 2017 Annual Conference, including the Elmer Staats Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Public Service Award, the Paul Van Riper Award and the Public Integrity Award—not to mention the countless Chapter and Section awards and other citations that were handed out in recognition of public administrators' efforts.

Honoring practitioners and academics alike, awards were presented to pay tribute to research, public service, social justice, publications, service to ASPA and lifetime achievement.

Just some of the honorees included:

  • Guy Adams (Dwight Waldo Award)
  • David Broom (Donald C. Stone Award)
  • Martha Chavez (Gloria Hobson Nordin Social Equity Award)
  • Patria de Lancer Julnes (Donald C. Stone Award)
  • Angela Evans (Paul Van Riper Award)
  • Foundation for Refugee Students (Public Integrity Award)
  • Jerome Lewis (Elmer Staats Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Public Service)
  • Mark Ott (National Public Service Award)
  • Max Stier (National Public Service Award)
You can find a listing of ASPA's award winners and a link to our awards brochure online here.


Provide ASPA with Your Annual Conference Feedback

If you were in Atlanta, there are now two surveys you can complete to tell us about your conference experience.

First, you should have received a link to complete our panel survey, enabling you to evaluate individual ASPA panels you attended (not including Chapter- or Section-sponsored panels that took place on Friday). When you complete this survey, you are providing ASPA with valuable feedback about speakers, topics, relevance and quality of the presentations. Please complete a panel survey for each ASPA panel you attended so we can best segment and use the data to plan for next year's panels. It should take you less than two minutes to complete for each panel you wish to review.

Second, please take a few minutes to evaluate the entire conference. This full conference survey asks for your feedback about the plenaries, exhibit hall, Career Fair, program book and overall conference experience. It should take you less than 10 minutes to complete. Those who provide contact details at the end of the questionnaire will also be entered to win a free 2018 Annual Conference registration! Click here to fill out the survey.

We appreciate your feedback and look forward to hearing from you regarding your experience in Atlanta! Contact us with any questions.


2017 Young Scholars Workshop in Chennai, India

Calling all Ph.D. students, post-doctoral fellows and young professionals! The application period for the 6th International Young Scholars Workshop in Public Policy and Administration Research, to be held in Chennai, India at Annamalai University, July 11-15, 2017, will close on April 7. That means you have 10 days to submit your application!

This workshop provides young scholars working in public policy, public administration and related subfields with an academically rigorous platform for the presentation of research and scholarly exchange. Research in all areas of public administration and policy are eligible, however the 2017 workshop's theme will be, "Advancing Public Sector Solutions in An Era of Change: Strengthening the Commitment to Evidence Based Research in Public Policy and Administration."

Accepted participants will receive a registration fee waiver, lodging accommodations (double occupancy with a fellow young scholar), local transportation and daily meals for four days. Participants must cover their own airfare and travel expenses and secure their own visa (if required).

Please review the Call for Applications with additional details and complete the online application, which includes summary information about your research papers and a recent resume.


Public Service Recognition Week Six Weeks Away

The 2017 Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW), May 7-13, is six weeks away. How is your organization, Chapter or Section celebrating public servants?

Organized by the Public Employees Roundtable, this annual event is a great opportunity to make "good enough for government work" a positive statement encompassing the terrific work public administrators and other public servants perform. No matter how you celebrate public service, now is the time to get planning—and make sure you alert ASPA about your event or celebration so we can include you in our coverage of this year's Week.

If you are in the D.C. area, there are several events taking place throughout the spring, including a 5K (which you can do virtually this year!), a Washington Nationals baseball game and a DC United Soccer game. Check out the PSRW website for details and add one of these events to your calendar! You can also follow this year's activities on Twitter through #PSRW and post your own tributes using that hashtag.

Get excited and plan now to celebrate the public servants in your life!

Contact ASPA chief of communications Karen Garrett with event information or questions.

Want to add an event? Email Melissa Jun with the details!

25th NISPAcee Annual Conference Taking Place May 2017

The 2017 NISPAcee Annual Conference, jointly organized by NISPAcee and Kazan Federal University, will take place May 18-20 in Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan. With a theme focusing on Innovation Governance in the Public Sector, this will be a critical conference in a beautiful location!

Early registration closes this week on March 31, so register now to make the most of the discounted registration rate. More information including a preliminary program, session topics, a list of accepted paper proposals and more is available on the conference website.

AAPAM Human Resource Management Seminar This June

The African Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM) announces a seminar: Transforming Human Resource Management and Development for the achievement of the African Union Agenda 2063 and Sustainable Development Goals. This seminar will be held at Saint George Hotel and Convention Centre in Pretoria, South Africa, June 27-29, 2017. Click here to view their brochure. More information can be found on the AAPAM website.


SPOD Public Administration Quarterly Call for Papers

Organizational culture influences work motivations, task effectiveness, internal and external stakeholder relationships and overall performance to achieve mission goals. Although research has explored the concept of organizational culture in relation to work satisfaction and achievements, it has focused on private sector firms. Little research exists in public sector organizational cultures. ASPA's Section for Professional and Organizational Development (SPOD) aims to fill this informational gap by publishing a symposium in Public Administration Quarterly describing, managing and changing public organizational cultures. All are invited to submit original manuscripts on the topic. All proposals are due by Monday, June 5, 2017. Click here for more information.


NCAC Awards Night March 30

ASPA's National Capital Area Chapter is celebrating its awards night on Thursday, March 30, and has announced that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will receive the Frances Kelsey Award and Paul Posner will receive the NCAC Outstanding Service Award. All members in the area are welcome to attend the awards ceremony, which will feature a keynote address from Paul Light. Click here for more information.


And the News Keeps Coming!

Public administration is busy! Awards deadlines, calls for proposals, calls for papers, conference announcements and more are being published daily. ASPA's website lists all news we receive, both across the discipline and within our Chapters and Sections. Make sure you check out these news feeds and stay in touch about everything going on within the discipline.

Welcome to Our Most Recent Members!
Click here to view recent new ASPA members!

PAR Update

Speak Your Mind
Policing and Race

"Speak Your Mind" is a PAR webpage feature that allows you to offer insights about big questions in public administration. The responses serve as a community forum for discussion of specific editorial contributions, and the format provides a platform for exchange of different ideas about how we think of public administration as a professional and scholarly enterprise.

Our latest Speak Your Mind feature is now online! This month, we welcome your input on the content of PAR's symposium on policing and race. In the introduction to the symposium, guest editors Drs. Charles Menifield and James D. Ward argue, "This symposium contributes to the discussion by offering paradigms from multiple disciplines and providing the most up-to-date research at the intersection of public administration, law enforcement, and public policy." Given the complex nature of policing problems facing the United States and variety of perspectives provided in the symposium, this month's Speak Your Mind question seeks to provide a forum to enhance dialogue on this vital issue. Follow the discussion or contribute your thoughts here.

Research Articles

Managing in the Regulatory Thicket: Regulation Legitimacy and Expertise

Although the influence of government regulation on organizations is undeniable, empirical research in this field is scarce. Anna A. Amirkhanyan (American University), Kenneth J. Meier (Texas A&M University) and Laurence J. O'Toole, Jr. (The University of Georgia) investigate how the understanding of and attitudes toward government regulation among public, nonprofit, and for-profit managers affect organizational performance, using U.S. nursing homes as the empirical setting. Findings suggest that managers' perceptions of regulation legitimacy—views of regulation fairness, inspectors' effectiveness and internal utility of the mandates—positively affect service quality. Subgroup analysis suggests that managers' views of regulation matter in nonprofit and for-profit organizations but not in public organizations. In nonprofit homes, performance declines when managers report higher regulatory expertise—better knowledge of the regulatory standards. In for-profit facilities, frequent communication with regulators lowers quality. These findings suggest that the regulated entities' views of government regulation are central to their success, which necessitates improvements in the regulatory process. Link to PAR Early View

What Happens at the Polling Place: Using Administrative Data to Look Inside Elections
Tremendous attention has been paid to local election administration since the 2000 presidential election meltdown, yet policymakers still lack basic information about what happens at the polling place. One strategy to understand the interactions between citizens and street-level election bureaucrats is to turn to administrative data. Using logs collected by polling place workers, Barry C. Burden, David T. Canon, Kenneth R. Mayer, Donald P. Moynihan (University of Wisconsin, Madison) and Jacob R. Neiheisel (University at Buffalo, SUNY) analyzed more than 66,000 individual incidents recorded from four different statewide elections. Such data provide novel insights and guidance for the administration of elections. Findings indicate that task scale (in terms of the number of ballots) and complexity (in terms of absentee ballots) increase the incident rate. Managerial choices about how polling places are run also matter: the use of electronic voting machines and central count processing of ballots reduce the incident rate, while splitting poll worker shifts increases it. Operator capacity, measured in terms of experience, also reduces the number of incidents. Link to PAR Early View

Performance and Management in the Public Sector: Testing a Model of Relative Risk Aversion
Research has demonstrated that management influences the performance of public organizations, but almost no research has explored how the success or failure of a public organization influences the decisions of those who manage it. Arguing that many decisions by public managers are analogous to risky choice, Sean Nicholson-Crotty, Jill Nicholson-Crotty (Indiana University, Bloomington) and Sergio Fernandez (Indiana University, Bloomington; University of Johannesburg, South Africa) use a well-validated model of relative risk aversion to understand how such choices are influenced by managers' perceptions of organizational performance. They theorize that managers will be less likely to encourage innovation or give discretion to employees when they are just reaching their goals relative to other performance conditions. Analyses of responses to the 2011 and 2013 Federal Employee Viewpoint Surveys provide considerable support for these assertions. The findings have significant implications for our understanding of the relationship between management and performance in public organizations. Link to PAR Early View

Interstate Spillovers, Fiscal Decentralization, and Public Spending on Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services
Gerel Oyun examines the interstate spillover effect of Medicaid expenditures for home and community based services (HCBS) and tests the relationship between fiscal decentralization and public spending. Based on the theory of interstate strategic interaction, an empirical model is specified that explicitly accounts for interdependence in states' spending decisions. The model is estimated by applying spatial econometric methods to panel data for the 50 U.S. states for 2000–2010. Findings show a positive interdependence in state HCBS expenditures that is contingent on similarity in citizen ideology between states. Fiscal decentralization, measured by transfer dependence and revenue autonomy, is positively related to Medicaid HCBS spending. Link to PAR Early View

Social Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship, Collectivism, and Everything in Between: Prototypes and Continuous Dimensions
Aaron Schneider (University of Denver) uses prototypes and continuous dimensions to place social entrepreneurship in relation to other organizational forms. This approach is more fruitful than classical attempts to stipulate essential characteristics and establish boundaries. A prototype and continuous dimension approach allows consideration of the way social entrepreneurship functions similarly to and differently from related concepts, such as traditional entrepreneurship, public social services and collectivism. These categories can be distinguished according to the degree to which control over the way value is created, allocated and distributed occurs socially or entrepreneurially. This approach offers the additional advantage of making the concept more precise, as subdimensions clarify the relationship to practices such as volunteerism and theories such as antidevelopment. By mapping the network of organizational forms in which social entrepreneurship can be located, we can focus on the viability and advisability of different ways of solving social problems. Link to PAR Early View

Incentives in Third-Party Governance: Management Practices and Accountability Implications
Contract incentives are designed to motivate contractor performance and provide public managers with a powerful tool to achieve contract accountability. Our knowledge of contract incentives is rooted in contract design, yet as we move beyond contract specification and further into the contract lifecycle, we know little about why and how managers implement incentives. Amanda M. Girth (The Ohio State University) assesses public managers' use of contract incentives in practice and advances theory development. A typology of contract incentives is constructed to capture a comprehensive range of formal and informal incentives and the factors that influence managerial use of incentives are identified. The findings shed light on the complexities of maintaining accountability in third-party governance structures and the management techniques aimed at improving the performance of public agencies. Link to PAR Early View

Citizen Expectations and Satisfaction in a Young Democracy: A Test of the Expectancy-Disconfirmation Model
Citizen satisfaction with public services has been shown to depend on citizens' expectations and their perceptions of performance. If performance exceeds expectations, satisfaction is likely; if performance falls short of expectations, dissatisfaction is likely. The existing evidence on this process covers the United States and United Kingdom. Nicolai Petrovsky, Jue Young Mok (University of Kentucky) and Filadelfo León-Cázares (University of Guadalajara, Mexico) generalize the idea of expectation-driven citizen satisfaction (the "expectancy-disconfirmation model") theoretically and empirically to an institutional context of limited accountability and widespread citizen distrust. Using a survey of a broad cross-section of the general adult population in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2014, this article finds support for the expectancy-disconfirmation model in this very different context. The authors also test for an effect of the type of expectation using an embedded, randomized experiment but do not find evidence of a difference between normative and empirical expectations. Findings support the usefulness of the expectancy-disconfirmation model in a wide range of contexts. Link to PAR Early View

Human Interest or Hard Numbers? Experiments on Citizens’ Selection, Exposure, and Recall of Performance Information
The abundance of quantitative performance information has motivated multiple studies about how citizens make sense of "hard" performance data. However, research in psychology emphasizes that episodic information (e.g., case stories) often leaves a greater mark on citizens. Asmus Leth Olsen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) tests this contradiction using multiple experiments embedded in a large, nationally representative sample of Danish citizens. The results stress three differences between statistical and episodic data. Citizens have strong preferences for statistical data when asked to evaluate an organization. However, episodic information has in some instances a stronger impact on citizens' evaluations of an organization and often is more emotionally engaging than statistics. Finally, when asked to immediately recall recent performance information about public services, citizens report more elaborate information about personalized stories and experiences than about statistics. Overall, the results raise questions about the ability of hard performance data to dominate and crowd out episodic performance information. Link to PAR Early View

New on PA TIMES Online

Every Tuesday and Friday, ASPA publishes a curated collection of original content that covers public service, management and international affairs.

This quarter, we welcome submissions that focus on local, state and national law enforcement. Send your contributions to us now! The deadline is rolling; contact us for more information.

Check out our recent articles and columns:

Leadership—The Key Driver of Employee Engagement

Words Matter

A Tale of Two Protests


Career Resources

Find your next career opportunity at This online job board is the perfect resource for making a career change or landing your first job in the public service. It lists dozens of positions in academia, government and the nonprofit sector. Below are just a few current listings.

Consultant, Evaluation – Equal Measure – Philadelphia, PA

Senior Associate Dean – Bates College – Lewiston, ME

Analyst in Health Insurance and Financing – Congressional Research Service – Washington, DC

American Society for Public Administration
1730 Rhode Island Ave., NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036

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