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

April 22, 2020

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In This Issue:

Census 2020 Is Underway

While COVID-19 has taken most of the headlines for the past couple of months, the decennial census started on April 1 and, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of all households in the country have completed their questionnaire. That's progress, but not nearly enough, so the good news is there is still plenty of time to ensure every person in the country is counted.

While anyone receiving this email should know about the census, as a reminder, it determines federal funding for important community services that help support families, ensures fair share of representation and funds programs that take care of the elderly, those living under the poverty line and other underrepresented populations. It is critical that every person in the country (no matter where you live or what your citizenship status is) is counted.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how critical accurate census information is since it helps:

  • determine where hospitals are built
  • provide streets and road funding and
  • support federal health programs, local clinics and other essential services such as emergency response

For each person not counted, communities will lose, on average, $1,000 per person, per year, for the next decade (when the next count will take place and provide another opportunity to reallocate funding).

Right now, the focus of the count is on in-home efforts, encouraging everyone to fill out their forms via the Census website, a mailed-in form or a phone call to the Census Bureau (with over 13 languages available). It is, and continues to be, private, safe and easy to complete the short nine-question survey.

What can you do to help?

  • Fill out your questionnaire, if you haven’t done so already.
  • Message your network—friends, colleagues and family—to encourage them to do it
  • Help those with less access to resources to get their numbers counted, as well.

The more work we all do now to support these efforts, the less work the enumerators will have to do when they start their efforts later this summer. As of last week, the Census Bureau has extended its outreach timeline to postpone enumerators' efforts to mid-August, a delay of about three months, but there are still concerns about door-to-door work in communities in the face of the coronavirus.

Now is your chance to take part in real public administration and help ensure community resources are well allocated for the next decade! Do your part today!

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Public Service Recognition Week is Still On!

While traditional Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) celebrations involve in-person events, awards programs and other personal interactions, many of which have been called off, you can still celebrate your community's public servants. In fact, PSRW celebrations are even more valuable now than in other years, as we celebrate the less visible public servants, all of whom are on the front lines of the coronavirus.

Taking place May 3-9, this week-long celebration honors the individuals who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees—but 2020's celebration will also recognize health care workers, food supply service members, transportation providers, public utility workers and more, all of whom are keeping our communities on their feet as much as possible.

We also encourage you to think of PSRW efforts you can undertake individually, versus traditional group celebrations. PSRW offers great opportunities for parents to involve their kids; groups of friends to collaborate; church communities to speak out; and more!

Here are some great virtual ways you can show your support for your favorite public servants this year:

  • Write op-eds and other columns for your local paper in support of your community service members
  • Post thank-you messages on social media channels, including photos, drawings, videos and other words of support (tag @ASPANational and we’ll be thrilled to share!)
  • Donate to your favorite community nonprofit in honor of public sector workers (ASPA also will be encouraging donations to support our efforts throughout that week—we can definitely serve as your favorite "community" nonprofit!)
  • Chapters and Sections, consider hosting Zoom sessions or webinars to do virtual awards ceremonies—no physical awards necessary; recognition is enough! (Check out VCU’s recent awards ceremony as a great example!)
  • Snail-mail still works! Write a letter to your local city hall, mayor's office, fire department, EMS or others to tell them how much you appreciate them, especially right now as resources are depleted

This is your chance to get creative, and don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The most important thing you can do to celebrate PSRW is to honor a public servant—in whatever form it takes. We look forward to seeing what kind of efforts the ASPA community puts into honoring its own!

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More Online Education Available

While social distancing continues, with no specific end in sight, ASPA staff are working to keep your skills up to date and the information flowing. And, let's be honest: Who doesn't need a distraction from the news these days?

We are pumping out webinars at a high rate: This week alone has (or will) featured three new programs; next week has two more in the line up; and early May will feature three more. Visit our website to see more details about upcoming KeepingCurrent, BookTalk and Student and New Professional series programming.

Performance Measurement for Managing Local Government
April 23 | 1 p.m. ET
David Ammons, University of North Carolina

Out of their desire to move ahead with performance management—the use of performance information for management purposes—managers, analysts and students sometimes skip too quickly through the intricacies of good performance measurement. In Performance Measurement for Managing Local Government, David Ammons answers the persistent questions confronting everyone who has ever tried to design, refine or make measures the management tools they are supposed to be. This book describes the ins and outs of performance measurement, guides readers toward proper design of measures, illustrates common errors and ways to avoid them, offers tips and even provides sets of suitable measures on which to build.

Leveraging Behavioral Science to Improve Program Performance
April 29 | 1 p.m. ET
John Kamensky, Moderator Senior Fellow, The IBM Center for The Business of Government
Donald Moynihan, McCourt Chair, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University
Gregg Van Ryzin, Professor, School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University

Donald Moynihan and Gregg Van Ryzin will share insights from their latest book, Behavioral Public Performance: How People Make Sense of Government Metrics, which they co-authored with Oliver James (University of Exeter) and Asmus Olsen (University of Copenhagen). In their presentation and subsequent discussion, they will reveal how people interpret and make sense of government performance metrics.

COVID-19 and Public Affairs Education: The 2020-21 Academic Year and Beyond
Part 3 of a 4-Part Series
April 30 | 4 p.m. ET
Susan T. Gooden, Moderator, Dean and Professor, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University
Maria Aristigueta, Director, Biden School, University of Delaware
Charles Menifield, Dean, University of Rutgers-Newark
David Van Slyke, Dean, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

As a result of the coronavirus, universities across the United States swiftly made significant modifications to finish out this academic year. What lies ahead for public affairs education? Which changes are temporary and which are likely here to stay? Join us for a robust panel discussion among seasoned leaders of nationally ranked public affairs schools as they consider future implications for teaching and scholarship, as well as community and stakeholder engagement. How can public affairs schools best prepare for the 2020-21 academic year and beyond?

New Additions to Our Archives!

Two new webinars have been added to our archives: Acceptable Losses—COVID-19: Social Equity and the African American Community and Inspired to Serve: Recommendations for the Future of Public Service.

COVID-19: Social Equity and the African American Community was the first of our four-part series with VCU looking at various aspects of the coronavirus. Three key take-aways from this discussion included:

  • Social distancing is one of the best tools against the virus, but also is a privilege. African Americans have more exposure because they have less privilege to social distance.
  • Comorbidity is often mentioned when looking at why African Americans are disproportionately affected by the virus, but is not an adequate reflection of the full story. Focusing only on comorbidity will not enable society to solve this crisis.
  • Data is very incomplete, especially when looking at how the virus has impacted distinct communities such as African Americans, but do not let that stop you from working with it. Researchers should use the data available to get closer to being able to solve these problems faster.

Members, click here to access this webinar in our archives. (Run time: 1:15.)

Inspired to Serve: Recommendations for the Future of the Public Service looked at the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service's recently released report, Inspired to Serve. Three key take-aways from this discussion included:

  • Service within communities breaks down barriers, builds respect and strengthens understanding and dialogue. Access to service and enabling a service-minded public will strengthen our national resolve and better empower us all during times of crisis.
  • We need to ensure young people are able to participate in civic life and in their communities. A lack of civic education across the country greatly impacts our perceptions of military and public service and needs to be improved.
  • Our federal hiring process is outdated and needs to be improved in numerous ways. The commission has made a variety of recommendations to strengthen this process including veterans' hiring preferences, overhauling the process for students and recent graduates, competitive benefits and more.

Members, click here to access this webinar in our archives. (Run time: 1:00)

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Members in the News

Given the extent to which our government response to the coronavirus has involved and engaged public administrators, from front-line workers to administrators to researchers and beyond, it is not surprising that ASPA members have appeared in the news in recent weeks. Below are just the articles of which we are aware. 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.

How to Keep a Remote Workforce Engaged
Since the emergence of COVID-19, millions of employees, including in government, are suddenly working from home all of the time. While this creates some operational challenges, in this article, Bob Lavigna also emphasizes that it creates a need for employers to focus on employees' psychological well-being, performance and productivity.

We Know Almost Nothing About the Costs of Grant Administration
Kathryn Newcomer and Jeff Myers review data that delves into grants management, particularly looking at how much of grant money gets spent on administrative work.

Combating COVID-19: Lessons from South Korea
This article from Michael Ahn provides a list of actions South Korea took in its fight against the virus that other countries may consider.

Under Pressure: What It Means to Be a City or County CIO Today
Provided by Alan Shark, this article looks at interviews with numerous CIOs to better understand how local government IT is responding to the coronavirus crisis.

How States Will Balance Budgets as Coronavirus Spreads Fiscal Stress
From Bill Glasgall, enumerating the severe fiscal consequences for U.S. states of the global COVID-19 pandemic is enough to make you want to crawl into a cave and stay there to avoid the barrage of bad news.

NYU Appoints Jack H. Knott as Drukier Dean of the Steinhardt School
Currently the dean of University of Southern California's Price School, Jack Knott will be moving to New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development this fall.

Gooden Named Dean of Wilder School
ASPA life member and past president Susan T. Gooden has been named dean of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Gooden has served as interim dean of the school since April 2018.

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In Memoriam: Chuck Bingman

Charles F. Bingman passed away on April 12. He had a 30-year career as a U.S. federal government manager and executive, after which he began a second career teaching public management at George Washington and Johns Hopkins Universities. He was active in several ASPA Chapters, including those in Texas and Washington, DC, throughout his career.

At the time of his passing, Bingman was completing an article, co-authored with ASPA past president Dwight Ink, which soon will be published in PA TIMES magazine. He also had consulting assignments in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, China, Japan, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Botswana and other countries.

Bingman was the author of Why Governments Go Wrong (2006), Reforming China's Government (2010), Changing Governments in India and China (2011) and Governments from Hell (2015). He was an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and of the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC.

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In Memoriam: Paul O'Neill

Paul O'Neill, former Treasury secretary who broke with George W. Bush over tax policy and then produced a book critical of the administration, died April 18. He was 84.

O'Neill's son, Paul O'Neill, Jr., confirmed that his father died at his home in Pittsburgh after battling lung cancer for the last couple of years. After a few surgeries and chemotherapy, he decided against any further intervention four or five months ago, he said.

"There was some family here and he died peacefully," the son said. "Based on his situation, it was a good exit."

Tony Fratto, who served as O'Neill's Treasury spokesman, posted on Facebook, "Very sad that our friend Paul O'Neill passed away today. He was a friend, a good man, and I loved working with him."

A former head of aluminum giant Alcoa, O'Neill served as Treasury secretary from 2001 to late 2002.

Find the full obituary from USA Today online here.

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Why Can't We Build Infrastructure Cheaply, Quickly and Well?

Our partners at Governing released a new report looking at our country's infrastructure, which was—up until about six weeks ago—one of the biggest challenges our country was facing. Columnist Alex Marshall identifies why now is the wrong time to invest in building infrastructure as a mechanism for restarting the economy. His chief rationale? "We appear to no longer know how to build infrastructure in a timely, cost-efficient and quality manner."

This article touches on everything from infrastructure to public finance to social equity and beyond.

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Tips and Resources for Weathering the Pandemic

News feeds and social media continue to be overwhelmed with a variety of resources to get us all through these challenging weeks. We’ve curated some of the better ones from the past few weeks.

It's Okay to Be a Different Kind of Parent During the Pandemic
When something outside your control changes your life, it's what you do with what you can control that really shapes your children.

F.A.Q. on Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses, Freelancers and More
The federal stimulus bills enacted last month, including a bipartisan $2 trillion economic relief plan, offer help for the millions of American small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the answers to common questions about these programs.

Resources for Nonprofits in Response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Outbreak
The Center for Nonprofits has put together a ton of resources for this specific group of public service organizations. Take a look.

How Companies, Governments and People Rise to the Conoravirus Challenge
Here are some good examples, both big and small, that make the world a little brighter while we combat the coronavirus.

Beyond Sanitizing and Social Distancing—A Healthy Circadian Rhythm May Keep You Sane and Increase Resilience to Fight COVID-19
To boost your immune defenses against corona and other viruses, one of the most effective things you can do is maintain your natural circadian rhythms. Here's how to do that.

Agency Resources for Managing Remote Teams
In addition to teleworking themselves, supervisors now may find themselves managing fully remote teams for the first time. The Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration released robust guidance to help managers best support their employees as they telework on a more permanent basis. Use this resource to find four of their best practices for managing remote teams.

Recommended Reading: Your Remote Work Survival Guide
Welcome to the new normal. With the current pandemic, many people in the public sector are teleworking full time for the first time. With that in mind, GovLoop shared links to articles that might make it easier to adjust to this remote work environment.

Harvard Offers Free Online Courses
More than 60 classes are available via the Harvard e-learning website.

Seven Things Ease the Switch to Remote-Only Workplaces
An abrupt transition to a remote-only workplace poses challenges to both management and employees. Two experts explain what it takes to get it right.

Govies Going Above and Beyond During the Coronavirus Pandemic
During the coronavirus pandemic, employees of government agencies at the local, state and federal levels are exceeding their traditional missions. They are saving lives and making life more manageable during these trying times. Here are just some of the many unexpected ways government employees are doing all they can for communities.

COVID-19: New and Updated CDC Guidance for Certain Groups and Settings
To help communities best prevent and manage COVID-19 transmission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides several resources tailored to certain groups and settings.

We released other lists of resources in previous editions of Bridge. Visit here and here for previous tools and guidance.

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Free Survey from the Institute for Public Sector Employee Engagement

How well is your workforce managing this new work environment? COVID-19 has presented unprecedented challenges for our organizations, our workforces and how we deliver services. This includes major changes in how and where employees work.

The CPS HR Consulting Institute for Public Sector Employee Engagement wants to help you understand how your employees are coping with the challenges of this new work environment and how you can help them continue to be productive. Research has shown that employees want to provide feedback to their organizations during stressful times like these.

CPS HR Consulting is offering a free tool, the Employee Connection Survey, that will provide insights on how your employees are dealing with the new working arrangements and where they believe their organization can help them maintain their well-being, performance and productivity.

This free offer is available on a first come, first served basis until May 4. Click here for more information.

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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

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(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 the past few weeks. If you have not seen these yet, make sure you read them now!


Public Finance

Public Service

Social Equity

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Public Administration Review—A Coronavirus Viewpoint Feature

If you have missed this in This Week at ASPA, don't forget that Public Administration Review (PAR) is hustling through a coronavirus Viewpoint feature and you don't have long to contribute! All manuscripts are due by May 1.

In short, PAR's Viewpoint feature is geared toward stimulating a dialogue between scholars and practitioners. PAR serves as a critical instrument for bridging these communities and this Viewpoint feature offers an opportunity to engage practitioners. For the COVID-19 Symposium, PAR seeks manuscripts from key stakeholders that are directly impacted by the pandemic and may include such topics as: health care, emergency management, crisis management, collaborative governance, network management, intergovernmental relations, leadership, social equity, risk management, hazard mitigation, public budgeting, finance, procurement and so on. Manuscripts should be approximately 3,000-4,000 words in length and actively engage both scholars and practitioners in a conversation regarding pandemic-related issues facing the broader public and nonprofit communities.

Click here for more information.

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

Around Public Administration

While typically we feature plenty of updates and announcements about conferences, calls for papers and other activity throughout our profession, many of these plans—especially those expected in the near future—are being put on hold, delayed or cancelled altogether. The below highlights reflect what ASPA staff believe to be true, but before you count on us, contact the organizers to make sure they are proceeding as planned as details are changing rapidly right now.

As usual, here are a couple calls for proposals:

  • Natural Hazards Review—Special Edition for COVID-19
    The proposed special collection seeks research that assesses the degree to which technical infrastructure to support interactive communication across multiple scales of decisionmaking increases or decreases social capacity for collective action to reduce the threat of COVID-19 on a global scale.
    Find the call for papers online here.

  • Series on Transnational Administration and Global Policy—Seeking Book Proposals
    This series publishes important manuscripts that explain and contribute to theorizing the expansion and institutionalization of global governance structures and processes by examining the actors and ideas permeating, shaping and critically engaging in these developments.
    Find more information here.

  • Review of Public Personnel Administration (ROPPA) Call for Papers—The Power of Public Service: Human Resource Management and the COVID-19 Pandemic
    This symposium explores existing human resource management (HRM) policies and practices in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, challenges that emerged and the path forward post-COVID-19. Submissions are welcome that explore HRM and COVID-19 through empirical and theoretical lenses. In considering the relationship between HRM and the COVID-19 crisis, this symposium seeks studies that focus on units of analysis such as HRM systems, employment and HR structures and the management-employee relationship and how it has been affected by this crisis. Abstracts are due by July 1.
    Find the Call for Papers online here.

  • ABFM Accepting Nominations for its Michael Curro Student Paper Award
    Graduate students who have written outstanding papers in the field as part of a course, independent study, or other faculty supervised projects are eligible. The paper must be nominated by a faculty supervisor and must have been written within the last twelve months. It may not have been previously presented at a professional conference and may not yet be published. To be considered, papers must be sole-authored. The papers can represent a variety of formats and topics within the broader interests of ABFM. Nominations are due by July 1, 2020.
    Click here for more information.

  • State and Local Government Review Call for Papers—2020 Special Issue: "Filling a Vacuum: Subnational Governance amidst National Government Inaction"
    While the coronavirus pandemic is (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime event, the intergovernmental dynamics it has sparked are not uncommon in the contemporary United States. The objective of this special issue is to publish original research that examines the implications of this emerging intergovernmental dynamic. We hope to include five or six short articles (about 6,500 words each) on individual policy areas where subnational governments have filled the vacuum left by national government inaction. Proposals should be submitted by July 1, 2020.
    Contact [email protected] for more information.

  • Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting, and Financial Management Special Issue—Stretching the Public Purse: Budgetary Responses to a Global Pandemic
    This Special Issue will examine the immediate budgetary responses to the pandemic by different countries and explore the long-term fiscal implications of these policies and their potential boomerang effects on the political, economic, social, and budgetary institutions. Since budgeting is a reflection of politics and politics, social and budgetary institutions can, in turn, be severely impacted by fiscal and economic hardship, looking at this pandemic as an exogenous shock to the existing institutions of different countries provides a golden opportunity for researchers to examine how and why budgetary policies are made, and how fiscal stress may create significant and, sometimes unintended, consequences on institutions. Paper submissions are due by July 15.
    Find the Call for Papers online here.

  • State and Local Government Review Call for Papers—Governance Matters Section
    The Governance Matters (GM) section of State and Local Government Review (SLGR) invites complete submissions as well as proposals from authors for individual articles or topic specific collections in a symposium format for potential publication in 2021. Prospective authors are encouraged to contact Grant Rissler, SLGR GM Editor ([email protected]) about any ideas for this section of the journal.

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Almost every article we've published in PA TIMES this month has been related to the coronavirus and, related, emergency management. You can find our archive of articles online here. Here's a list of the most recent columns related to COVID-19.

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