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

April 24, 2024

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The Best in Years!

When ASPA’s 2024 Annual Conference closed last week, attendees in the room and throughout the conference space were in agreement: This was the best conference in years.

Sessions were well-attended and varied between roundtable discussions, workshops and panel presentations; plenaries featured a range of speakers from across the sector including state and local leaders, practitioners, legendary professors and the media; symposia and workshops offered attendees the opportunity to dig into specific subjects for prolonged periods of time; special events showcased individuals with both fascinating and relevant life experiences; and social events encouraged everyone to take a break and have fun.

You can find highlights and favorite moments via X, formerly known as Twitter (thanks to University of Pittsburgh, GSPIA for sponsoring our daily social media recaps!). Here are a few favorites:

A more thorough recap will be provided in the next edition of Bridge. Look for those details and start planning your attendance for ASPA2025 in Washington, DC, March 28-April 1!


E-Learning at Your Fingertips

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

BookTalk: Experts in Government
April 25 | 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. EDT

Don Kettl, Professor, University of Texas at Austin

From Caligula and the time of ancient Rome to the present, governments have relied on experts to manage public programs. But with that expertise has come power and that power has long proven difficult to hold accountable. The tension between experts in the bureaucracy and the policy goals of elected officials remains bitter. Former President Trump labeled these experts as a "deep state," seeking to resist the policies he believed he was elected to pursue—and he developed a policy scheme to make it far easier to fire experts he deemed insufficiently loyal. The age-old battles between expertise and accountability have come to a sharp point and resolving these challenges requires a fresh look at the rule of law to shape the role of experts in governance.

BookTalk: The Curious Public Administrator
May 14 | 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. EDT

Will Hatcher, Chair, Department of Social Sciences and Professor, Augusta University

Louis Brownlow, one of public administration’s historical thinkers, once argued, “[T]he principal requirement of a good administrator is an insatiable curiosity.” This book, by Will Hatcher, is rooted in the notion that public administrators must practice insatiable curiosity to be effective, fair and democratic. By seeking to uncover how the world works, and therefore practicing curiosity, public administrators may be more likely to move toward evidence-based decisions, improving the efficacy and efficiency of public service. Curiosity encourages public administrators to seek answers in a caring manner and, in doing so, to empathize with the communities that they serve. Join us for this event and learn more about this resource.

From the Archives
BookTalk: Human Resource Essentials for Public Service: People, Process, Performance
Tough issues face human resource managers. With the specter of Schedule F hanging over federal jobs, the time to understand why good government requires job protections is now. And there are no easy answers for the right blend of remote versus in-person work; or how employees can find meaningfulness in their jobs; or how to forestall workplace violence; or how to ensure equitable processes. Listen to this webinar via our online archives now. (Members only)

Public Service Recognition Week Begins May 5!

National Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW), an annual opportunity across the United States to pay tribute to public service employees, begins on May 5. We are excited to see a number of ASPA Chapters and Sections are hosting events in honor of PSRW (some before or after the official week), including:

  • April 26: Greater Chicago Chapter 44th Annual PSRW Program
  • May 1: Rhode Island Chapter 13th Annual Public Service and Leadership Conference
  • May 8: Southern California Chapter Annual Awards Luncheon
  • May 9: Hampton Roads Chapter Annual Awards Luncheon
  • May 9: New Jersey Chapter Public Service Awards Reception
  • May 10: SDSJ and Nebraska Chapter Event Celebrating Public Service
  • May 10: Buffalo Niagara Chapter Public Service Awards Dinner
  • May 16: Greater Houston Chapter Public Service Recognition Week Awards Ceremony
  • May 22: Utah Chapter Annual Award Ceremony
  • June 12: New York Metropolitan Chapter Annual Award Ceremony
If you are a member of any of these groups, make sure you join your Chapter in honoring your public servants—and, of course, anyone can participate in the virtual events, so please join these online options if your Chapter isn't holding an event. Find more information on our online calendar.

You do not have to attend one of these events to honor your public servants! From letter-writing campaigns to social media posts to op-eds in your local newspapers, there are plenty of ways to show public administrators at the local, state and federal level that their work is valued. If you need help getting started, the Partnership for Public Service has put together a wide range of tools and resources you can use to amp up this year's celebration. (Thanks, Partnership!)

However you choose to get involved this May, make sure you show your hard-working public servants that you value them. Make plans now and spread the word with your network!

For the public servants reading this message, happy PSRW! The American Society for Public Administration—all 12,000 members and partners—appreciates you! Thank you for your service!

If you are affiliated with an ASPA Chapter or Section hosting an event that is not on the list above, please let us know so we can include you on future lists!


ASPA Releases Year-Round App!

If you attended the 2024 Annual Conference, you know ASPA launched a brand-new mobile app—but did you know that you can use it all year long?

Visit any app or play store to download your version (search for "ASPA"), log in with your ASPA login information to see full details and start connecting with folks any time!

Is it time to renew your membership? Do it in the app! Click on your profile image in the upper-left-hand corner and follow the prompts to select your membership type and Sections.

Questions? Contact us for assistance and we'll be happy to help get you started!

We will continue to roll out new features in the weeks and months ahead, so look for announcements and more details soon!


ASPA Celebrates Milestone Anniversaries

Each year at the annual conference ASPA recognizes those celebrating 25- and 50-year ASPA anniversaries: individuals who have been ASPA members continuously for those time spans. We did so again this year during the plenaries and are delighted to include those lists here, as well.

Below are the 24 individuals celebrating 25 years of being an ASPA member:

  • J. Edwin Benton
  • Doreen Clifford
  • Steven Dubay
  • Lynn Ernst
  • Matthew Fairholm
  • Joseph Fitzgerald
  • Peter Gess
  • Clare Ginger
  • Gigi Harris
  • Peter Haruna
  • Dennis Ippolito
  • Kimberly Isett
  • Willow Jacobson
  • Rick Kurtz
  • Minchin Lewis
  • Chad Miller
  • Phillip Dodd Nufrio
  • Barry N. Pearl
  • Shelly L. Peffer
  • Jinping Sun
  • Ed Thomas
  • Robert Tobias
  • William Wiley
  • Kaifeng Yang
Below are the five members celebrating 50 years of being an ASPA member:
  • Nancy Foye-Cox
  • Jean-Claude Garcia-Zamor
  • Philip Gartenberg
  • James Giana
  • Phillip Gonet
ASPA congratulates all of this year's anniversary celebrants on their long-term commitment to our organization and wishes each of them many more years of dedication in the future.

Please reach out to those you recognize on this list with your own congratulations.


These Aren't the Only Anniversaries...

ASPA is turning 85 this year! We are so pleased to be celebrating 85 years of advancing excellence in public service—and look forward to 85 more years ahead of us!

In that spirit, ASPA's development committee has launched a fundraising campaign for the rest of 2024—the 85-for-85 campaign—soliciting contributions to support ASPA's operations and, specifically, programs that cultivate our next generation of leaders.

As ASPA President-Elect John Bartle noted during the conference's opening plenary, "The funds will be put to use right away to provide more value and keep growing ASPA. What is most important is that we bring in young professionals, help them develop their skills and networks and keep them as ASPA members for many years. This fundraising campaign will help ASPA provide these opportunities."

ASPA leadership and staff look forward to promoting this campaign throughout the year. Make your donation any time, including right now, by clicking on the button below and donating $85 toward the future of ASPA: its students and young professionals.

We look forward to you celebrating this anniversary with us!

Read and Download Public Integrity’s 25th Anniversary Article Collection

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Public Integrity (PI), the leadership team has put together a collection of 30 papers spanning the journal’s history and authorship on innovative, interesting and diverse topics—papers well worth visiting or revisiting. The collection is available open to the public to read and download for the remainder of 2024.

After 25 years, PI continues to be proud to be a journal of the American Society for Public Administration and to represent students, scholars and professionals in the community. We hope you will enjoy reading this collection of papers and celebrating PI’s anniversary with the journal team, ASPA and T&F in 2024.

Public Administration Today Highlight

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

Securing Legacies: Strategies for Resolving Heirs’ Property Issues in Cities
Via the National League of Cities: Studies report a correlation among heirs’ properties, lower education, economic outcomes and chronic blighted areas. These same blighted areas often are the center of a homeownership agenda by many U.S. mayors and city council members since residential property taxes are one of the drivers for local revenue for municipalities. Yet, many residential properties, specifically blighted heirs’ properties, are sold at a decreased value, thus impacting the surrounding property value and eroding the tax base.

Tips, Resources and the Fun Stuff

Nine Practices from Native American Culture That Could Help the Environment
Certain ancient practices could mitigate the deleterious effects of global warming. From building seaside gardens to water management in desert terrain, these time-honored practices work with the natural world’s rhythms.

In the News

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


Public Finance Public Service Social Equity

Members in the News

Politicians May Rail Against the "Deep State" but Federal Workers Are Effective and Committed
By James Perry and Jaime Kucinskas

The MacGuffin of Schedule F
By Don Kettl

Why Plugging Leaks Sometimes Means Protecting Leakers
By Ronald Sanders and Steven Lenkart

Emergency Alert: States Confront EMS Shortages
How Collaboration Is Changing North Carolina, One Project at a Time
By Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene

Gaylene Armstrong Named UNO Dean of the College of Public Affairs and Community Service
The University of Nebraska at Omaha is thrilled to announce the appointment of Gaylene Armstrong, director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, as the dean of the College of Public Affairs and Community Service. Pending final approval by the president and board of regents, Armstrong will begin her appointment on July 1, 2024. She transitions into this position as current Dean John Bartle retires shortly.

Tell Me Something Good...

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

The End of the Line for Minneapolis' Longest-Serving Bus Driver, and the Start of a New Adventure
For 47 years, Melanie Benson got her neighbors where they needed to go. She was their bus driver and it was a joy, she said. It was an honor. It was an adventure. But now Metro Transit's longest-serving driver is ready for a new adventure. About a week ago, on her 69th birthday, Benson retired from the job she loved.

Around Public Administration

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

Upcoming Events:

Calls for proposals, calls for nominations and other updates:
  • Call for Chapters: Burned Out
    IntechOpen has issued a call for chapter proposals for an upcoming open access book entitled Burned Out: Exploring the Causes, Consequences, and Solutions of Workplace Stress in Public Service Organizations. Public service occupations are among the most stressful workplaces in the world. Public servants are expected to address society's most difficult and demanding problems—including pandemics, terrorism, natural disasters and a host of complex social issues. These problems expose employees to high physical dangers, deep emotional toils and often constant media, political and citizen criticism for their efforts. This book aims to do a deep dive into not only the types of stress (i.e., work, organizational and environmental demands) that are endemic in a variety of public service workplaces, but also the effects of stress on an assortment of outcomes (i.e., performance, commitment, motivation, happiness and physical and emotional wellbeing) and potential mitigation strategies. This book also will leverage the findings of research drawn from a diversity of methodologies, including quantitative and qualitative research designs. If your research fits this topic, join the project and submit a chapter proposal for consideration.


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.