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

May 13, 2020

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In This Issue:

ASPA Launches Digital Experience

As events across the discipline are canceled and your opportunities to learn from others' research are diminished, our new Digital Experience provides an ideal opportunity to explore research from across public administration at a greatly reduced price.

Featuring more than 30 sessions that were originally scheduled to take place at our 2020 Annual Conference in Anaheim, this online event begins June 15 and offers you an extended time frame during which you can make the most of these presentations. Including all of the Founders' Fellows panels, several of our Presidential Panels and more than 20 research- and practice-based panels, this event will offer you a taste of what the Annual Conference features every year.

Presented via GoToWebinar, we will offer live programs online between June 15-June 26; the entire library of presentation recordings will be available for purchase and online access through the end of the year. Only $49 per person (nonmembers: $74 per person), this is an economical way to catch up on knowledge and insights from across the profession.

Just a few of the topics will include:

  • Access to the Ballot Box: A Vision of American Democracy at Its Best
  • "A Portrait of LA County"
  • Counting Everyone: The 2020 Census
  • Government, Gamification and Higher Education: Innovation Shaping the Future of Public Administration
  • Practitioner-Academic Dialogue: City Managers on What We Should Be Teaching in Public Administration
  • Examining the Evolving Role of Gender in Established Governance Structures
  • Current Structural Challenges to the American System of Government
  • May the Best Man Win? Inequity Drivers in Health Care Policies and Practices
  • The Role of Strategic Procurement in Improving Agency Effectiveness

Some of your favorite speakers will be a part of this event, as well:

  • Erik Bergrud, Associate Vice President for University Engagement, Park University
  • Paul Danczyk, Immediate Past President, ASPA and Director, Executive Education, University of Southern California
  • Patria de Lancer Julnes, Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Professor, Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College, CUNY
  • William Glasgall, Senior Vice President and Director, State and Local Initiatives, The Volcker Alliance
  • Mary Guy, Professor, University of Colorado Denver
  • Michael Jacobson, Deputy Director, King County Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget
  • Shawn Landres, Immediate Past Chair, Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission
  • Kristen Lewis, Director and Co-Founder, Measure of America
  • Alasdair Roberts, Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Marilyn Rubin, Distinguished Research Associate, Rutgers University
  • Patricia Shields, Professor, Texas State University
  • Maren Trochmann, Assistant Professor, College of Charleston

More details are online; review the panels today.

Ready to participate? Register as soon as you can to save your digital seat and look for more information in your inbox in early June with access details and panel information.

We are excited to bring you this Digital Experience. Make the most of this opportunity. We’ll look forward to seeing you online next month!

Questions? Contact us!

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In Memoriam: John Stone, III

John G. Stone, III of Washington, DC, beloved husband of Jackie Edgett, died peacefully at home surrounded by family on April 30, 2020 at the age of 87. Son of the late John G. Stone, Jr. and Helen (Ramey) Stone, he was born on March 13, 1933 in Washington, DC and grew up in Rockville, Maryland and Wilmington, Delaware. He graduated from Alexis I duPont High School and attended the Goldey-Beacom Business College in Delaware before entering the U.S. Army in 1953 during the Korean War. He trained as a tank driver at Fort Knox, Kentucky and was stationed in Linz, Austria. Upon honorable discharge, through the G.I. Bill, he attended the University of Delaware before attending George Washington University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1960.

Upon graduation, Stone began 31 years of civil service, holding a number of administrative and executive positions in DC government. These positions included leadership roles in the Redevelopment Land Agency, where he was a project director developing plans for revitalizing the downtown area. He also prepared the initial plan for the Fort Lincoln project, assisted in establishing the Shaw project planning program and coordinated the 1969 riot damage report to the Mayor. He worked with the DC Office of Personnel (DCOP), as well, where he was instrumental in leading the effort to enact regulations to implement the District's new personnel system, provided for in the Home Rule Charter. At the end of his tenure with DCOP, he oversaw the development of the reorganization plan to establish the new Department of Administrative Services, where he went on to serve as the chief of policy and management. He retired from the DC Education Licensure Commission in 1991, as executive director, where he instituted management and financial systems to strengthen and enhance the Commission's function.

Upon his retirement, he received a Distinguished Public Service Award from the DC government and, with contributions from friends, established a scholarship fund in his name to benefit DC public high school students planning for a career in public service. Since then, more than $100,000 in scholarships have been awarded to students from the former Public Service Academy at Anacostia Senior High School, the Health and Human Services Academy at Eastern High School and the Thurgood Marshall Public Charter School. His efforts were instrumental in engaging Anacostia and other public service academies to encourage the next generation of public servants.

Stone's commitment to public service and educating inner-city children continued in retirement. He chaired the Board of Directors of the DC Education Licensure Commission and headed the Public Employee's Roundtable (PER). He was awarded PER's highest recognition: the Jack Niles' Medal of Honor Award. He continued to work with both Anacostia Senior High School and the Business Advisory Committee for the Health and Human Services Academy at Eastern High School. He served twice as the president of the Council of Former Federal Executives and was an adjunct fellow at the National Academy of Public Administration.

Stone was a dedicated ASPA member, especially within its National Capital Area Chapter. He received ASPA's Keeper of the Flame Award in 1994, established to recognize post-retirement contributions to public service. He made a substantial donation to the ASPA Endowment to establish a scholarship fund—the Wallace O. Keene Award—which continues to be awarded today. He chaired the committee to disburse the annual funds for many years, ensuring the future of public service within ASPA, as well as the communities with which he volunteered his service. He remained actively involved with and interested in ASPA, as recently as several months ago.

A lion of public service, a supporter of public school education, the consummate professional and a kind man, he will be missed by many.

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More Online Education Available

While social distancing continues, 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?

Visit our website to see more details about upcoming KeepingCurrent, BookTalk and Student and New Professional series programming.

Student and New Professional Webinar: Research Methods in Public Administration—Insights on Mixed Methods, Experiments and Diary Studies
May 20 | 4 p.m. ET
Lotte Bøgh Andersen, Aarhus University, Denmark
Sandra Groeneveld, Leiden University, The Netherlands
Sebastian Jilke, Rutgers University
Kenneth Meier, American University
Ana-Maria Dimand, Moderator, Doctoral Student, Florida International University

This webinar will explore the need to match research methods—both quantitative and qualitative—with substantive questions and present insight on experiments in public management research. We will look at challenges and opportunities, lessons learned from field experiments and diary studies, including the relevance of within-person variation over time.

New Additions to Our Archives!

Four new recordings are in our webinar archives now. Members, if you missed any of the following in recent weeks, you can grab them now and catch up!

Our four-part series looking at COVID-19, in partnership with the L. Douglas Wilder School at Virginia Commonwealth University, concluded with a discussion about higher education considerations for Fall 2020 and beyond, and a look at front-lines workers and the critical considerations going into health care, procurement, city management and more. You can view this entire series in our webinar archives and get an in-depth look at how our profession is not only responding to the coronavirus, but also leading the charge to help our communities stay safe during these uncertain times.

We also hosted two new BookTalks. The first looked at David Ammons' book, Performance Measurement for Managing Local Government, which looks at how local government managers use performance measurement tools. The second discussion featured Don Moynihan and Gregg Van Ryzin, moderated by John Kamensky, who talked about their just-released book, Behavioral Public Performance: How People Make Sense of Government Metrics. Reflecting on how individuals' personal biases interfere with program management and policy implementation, the authors looked at behavioral science trends and how they impact performance management.

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Chapter and Section Leaders: Join Us for a Town Hall Next Week

ASPA President Kendra Stewart and staff look forward to hearing from as many Chapter and Section leaders as possible during our town hall-style teleconference next Thursday, May 21 at 11 a.m. EDT.

These are unprecedented times and we want to hear from our volunteer leaders about your experiences and needs. While many of us live in states and jurisdictions that are no longer under stay-at-home orders, many of us continue to isolate—and social distancing will continue in myriad forms for months to come. How is that impacting your work, your Chapter's bond and your Section's mission? Join the call and let us hear from you!

Register online here and we will hear from you online next week!

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ASPA Partners with USC Price/Executive Education to Build Leaders

ASPA is pleased to announce it is partnering with the University of Southern California Sol Price School's Executive Education program to offer a free professional resource, available through June. Focusing on developing public service leaders, the Executive Education program offers 360-degree assessments to aid in helping leaders expand their self- and social-awareness. Assessments look at 10 leadership characteristics across individuals, their teams and their organizations.

Find more information online at www.leadershipenergizes.com; if you are an elected leader, visit www.electedleaders360.com for more details.

View videos about the program online here.

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Increasing Voter Turnout in Local Elections

As recently mentioned by the National Civic League, the backdrop of the 2020 presidential election is a valuable opportunity to focus citizens on the importance and impact of their vote in local races and elections. While election turnout fluctuates based on competitiveness and voter interest, there is a persistent pattern of low participation in local elections. This low voter turnout has a profound effect on the daily life of communities, impacting everything from schools and housing to transportation, police and parks. This article identifies cities and towns that have been successful at activating voters in local elections and shares promising strategies they have implemented.

It is critical that eligible voters appreciate the importance of their vote to their local community. Implementing strategies that better connect residents with local races and issues can lay the groundwork for a more gratifying election experience and help influence those who typically vote only in major federal or state elections to increase their local election engagement.

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COVID-19's Effects on Census 2020

The decennial census is one of the federal government's constitutional functions; it must be completed this year. As many can imagine, while this year's count was not going to be easy, the U.S. Census Bureau is facing additional hurdles caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Click the link below to access this GovExec podcast on this important subject.

Want to know more? Register for our Digital Experience and participate in a live panel with State of California Census Director Ditas Katague, as she and the other panelists provide live updates about the census and what we can do to help nationwide.

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What Congress Has Done So Far...

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, federal lawmakers have enacted four separate pieces of legislation, costing approximately $2.4 trillion. This blog from the Peterson Foundation outlines those efforts and provides more details for those interested.

Plus, for those focusing on the federal debt, here are some details looking at the legislation's impact on the national debt including new borrowing and expectations of future legislative packages.

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Measuring the Quality of Management in Federal Agencies

In normal times, elected and appointed government officials pay relatively little attention to the question of how well public agencies are managed. During times of emergency and recovery however, management capacity shortcomings become painfully obvious and scrutiny increases. In the context of COVID-19, considerable attention has been directed to a variety of difficulties including administering loans to small businesses, processing unemployment claims and the sudden, massive shift public employees have made to telework.

In a recent report by The IBM Center for the Business of Government, James Thompson and Alejandra Medina of the University of Illinois—Chicago propose the creation of a program whereby federal agencies would routinely be assessed on how well each agency is managed and on each agency’s capacity to handle future challenges. Thompson and Medina cite multiple other, similar initiatives including those designed to assess the management quality of private sector firms and of public agencies in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. According to Thompson and Medina, a key advantage to such a system is it would draw policymakers’ attention to management quality issues at times other than those of crisis. Investments could then be targeted at agencies that have outdated systems or are simply poorly run.

You can find more information about this report in this recent article from John Kamensky.

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Tips and Resources for Weathering the Pandemic

While tips and tools to cope with coronavirus-related isolation have thinned out recently, there are still a few good ones floating around to help with ongoing social distancing anxiety. We’ve curated some of the better ones from the past few weeks.

How Managers Can Plan for Employees' Successful Return to Federal Offices
Things won't be the same. Here are 10 tips for putting empathy into action and keeping people safe.

Four Ways to Protect Yourself from Disinformation
While this is not coronavirus-related, it's still valuable! As the 2020 elections near and disinformation campaigns ramp up, an expert on media literacy offers advice you can use to develop habits to exert more conscious control over your news intake.

Census Bureau COVID-19 Demographic and Economic Resources Data Hub
This online tool has information on economic indicators, population demographics and businesses affected by the virus.

Astronaut Christina Koch Gives Advice on Handling the Uncertainty over When Social Distancing Will End
When NASA astronaut Christina Koch launched to the International Space Station (ISS) in March 2019, she had no idea when she might return to earth. Her initial mission duration was set at six months, but before she even boarded the Soyuz rocket she had received notice that this might be extended. For several months before launch, Koch lived in a state of ambiguity about how long she might be in space. During this time she learned to manage the feelings that come with uncertainty about when the end of her mission might be.

Lead with Empathy During the COVID-19 Crisis
The coronavirus pandemic is a stressful time for everyone. Here are some ways employers can help their employees through this crisis.

How to Avoid Burnout in Employees
Eagle Hill Consulting CEO Melissa Jezior joined the GovExec podcast to explain how a manager can identify overwhelmed staff members during the pandemic.

Getting Antsy? Try Quarantine Bingo!
The classic game has long kept kids entertained during family road trips. Here are two versions for sheltering in place.

How to Listen to Your Loved Ones with Empathy When You Yourself Are Feeling the Strain of Social Distancing
When you are stuck at home during social distancing, it's only natural to feel on edge at times. How do you listen to a loved one who is on edge, too?

Slow Down
When do you pause? Are you present to the blessings of your life? Do you take time to experience joy? In your constant rush, are you ever truly efficient? Worse yet, do you sacrifice your well-being in response to seemingly urgent demands?

A Guide to Staying Safe as States Reopen
Can I eat at a restaurant? Can I go shopping? Can I hug my friends again? Experts weigh in.

Getting Back Pain While Working From Home? An Ergonomics Expert Offers Advice
You may be noticing new aches and pains that you did not experience at the office. Welcome to work-from-home settings where your furniture is not ergonomic, your desk height doesn't match your legs and fitting in a full work station among kids' projects is challenging. Here are tips to combat this issue.

Five Ways to Make Your Virtual Meetings More Effective
The pandemic has upended how we work and interact in the public and private sector. As the push to work-from-home increases, here are a few tips to maximize the productivity of your virtual meetings.

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

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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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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.

Opinion: A Surplus Account Is Not the Same as a Rainy-Day Account
Rich Keevey reminds us that contributing to New Jersey's rainy-day fund would help protect the state during a recession or in the event of a natural disaster.

TAMU-CC Researchers Show How Pandemic May Reshape Political Landscape
Three researchers at Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi have looked ahead to how the COVID-19 pandemic may affect upcoming elections—including the November 2020 presidential election—based on its impact on various demographic groups. Wendi Pollock, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice; Beth Rauhaus, Assistant Professor of Public Administration; and Andrew Johnson, Assistant Professor of Management, conducted the study in mid-March.

A Well-Managed, Competent Federal Government Another Victim of the Coronavirus
Allan Rosenbaum authored an op-ed in the Miami Herald looking at the state of our federal government.

Honoring Public Servants in the Midst of a Pandemic
Dan Blair and Janice Lachance author a piece in GovExec honoring pubic servants.

What's Behind States' Differing Approaches To Reopen Economies?
NPR's Steve Inskeep talks to Donald Kettl, professor of public policy at the University of Texas at Austin, about how state competition during the coronavirus crisis could lead to lasting changes.

Balancing Freedom and Responsibility on the Front Lines of Public Service
Ron Sanders' editorial outlines Americans' love-hate relationship with their government.

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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 current calls for proposals and nominations:

  • 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] or click here 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.

  • International Journal of Public Administration Special Issue Symposium on Leading and Managing Responses to Pandemics
    The International Journal of Public Administration (IJPA) invites article proposals for a Special Issue Symposium on Leading and Managing Responses to Pandemics. Proposals for scholarly papers on a wide range of sub-topics using quantitative and/or qualitative analysis approaches will be considered, including strong theoretical works, single-site case studies and comparative case studies. Scholarly manuscripts must be grounded in theory/literature and empirical evidence, and use sound analytical methods. Findings should be generalizable. Single-site case studies will be subject to different, more practical, review criteria. The Special Issue will be published online in spring 2021; the print volume will be published in summer 2021. All proposals are due November 15, 2020.
    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. Click here for more information.

  • 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.

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Most of the articles we've published in PA TIMES recently have been related to the coronavirus and/or emergency management. You can find our archive of articles online here. Here's are just a few articles we recommend:

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