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

August 23, 2023

ASPANet.org | PA TIMES.org

2024 Annual Conference Call for Proposals Open through September 8!

ASPA's 2024 Annual Conference will take place April 12-16 in Minneapolis, focusing on "Building Resilient Communities." Our Call for Proposals is open for a few more weeks and we're excited to see everyone's ideas for what should be on the program next spring.

Artificial intelligence (AI). Pandemic response. Refugee assistance. Coastal hazards. These are just a few of the topics that we've seen so far—hopefully they spark some inspiration for where your ideas might fit in. Read on for more information about the theme and submit your proposal by the September 8 deadline!

What does building resilient communities mean? We often think of “resilience” as the ability to overcome, grow, adapt and innovate. And, we know that “community resilience” is garnering attention across the public service profession around the globe. But, the definition is complicated, especially given the interconnection of local knowledge, community networks and relationships, governance and leadership, community capital and economic investment, inclusivity, social and economic equity, climate adaptation and environmental justice. ASPA’s 2024 Annual Conference aims to help attendees understand the myriad connections and complex systems involved.

One image that comes to mind is Gumby*, the green claymation character made popular in the 1970s: highly adaptive, bending, twisting and upending around solid objects, always capable of returning to its original form. Current times require creative thinking to build resilience so communities can recover and transform, while maintaining basic functions and identity. The 2024 Annual Conference will provide attendees with the expertise to build “Gumby” communities that can be stretched, shrunk or squished by the forces around them, while also retaining the structural integrity needed to remain whole and thrive.

Most communities have faced intractable problems in recent years and even decades, whether in health, economy, inequity, security or governance. They have needed to twist in unnatural ways and not all of them have settled to their original—or desirable or manageable—form. Some have improved from the experience; others have split into pieces, never to be whole again. Resilient communities are able to withstand the dynamic forces of a global, networked and diverse society. Intractable problems—poverty, environmental crisis, xenophobia, social and economic injustice and the changing nature of work, to name a few—drive a community’s capacity to effectively and equitably govern and serve.

What differentiates in this environment? What makes one community strong enough to withstand crises and bounce back—even bounce back better—while another struggles and suffers, its citizens needing more resources and not being able to cultivate them? Which factors play leading roles and which are tangential? What do communities need to gain to be able to bounce back? What roles must public administration professionals and scholars play in contributing to building resilient communities? How do we nurture relationships across the profession to collaboratively develop resolutions to community challenges?

The 2024 Annual Conference will examine these questions, demonstrating the necessary components of resilience to help all communities become “Gumby” in the years ahead. Six tracks will guide our discussions, all of which will emphasize enduring public administration tasks, plus effectiveness, efficiency, equity and better performance.

We are seeking proposals for sessions, individual papers or topics and workshops that will delve into this theme and its related tracks. These proposals will form the bulk of the sessions presented during the conference and provide attendees with learning objectives throughout the event.

The 2024 conference will include six tracks: good governance and democratic resilience; social equity, diversity and inclusion; innovative human resource management; environmental management and effective technology; emergency preparedness, public health and disaster response; and global and comparative perspectives. Full track details and more information about the conference are available online. Check out our website, start finalizing your proposal and send us your ideas by September 8!

*Gumby is trademarked by PREMA Toy Company. References do not imply trademark or copyright.

ASPA Leadership Call for Nominations Deadline September 1

ASPA is enriched by the active participation of our dedicated members. Our committed volunteer leadership plays a critical role in charting ASPA’s path: who we are, what we do and where we are headed.

Please consider yourself and/or a fellow member for one or more leadership positions. This year, members will elect five district representatives and a student representative. All will serve on the National Council, our governing board, which is responsible for setting ASPA's policy direction, ensuring our financial and programmatic position and promoting ASPA within the broader public service community. Click here for more information about National Council responsibilities.

We seek nominees representative of the groups and professional interests within ASPA, balancing academic and practitioner, and including international, nonprofit and all levels of government.

In addition, the National Council has charged the 2023 Nominating Committee with presenting a slate of nominees diverse in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation and other important forms of diversity.

Nominations will be accepted until Friday, September 1, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Find more information on our website and start thinking about who you will nominate!

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: Crisis Communication Planning and Strategies for Nonprofit Leadership
September 5 | 1 p.m. EDT

Lauren Azevedo, Assistant Professor, Penn State Harrisburg
Brittany Haupt, Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University

Crisis Communication Planning and Strategies for Nonprofit Leaders examines the unique position of nonprofit organizations in an intersection of providing public services and also being a part of emergency and crisis management practices. This text discusses the evolution of crisis communication planning, the unique position of nonprofit organizations and the crises they face, along with provision of conceptual and theoretical frameworks to generate effective crisis communication plans for nonprofit organizations to utilize within diverse crises. Through the use of innovative real-life case studies investigating the impact of crisis communication plans, this book provides the foundational knowledge of crisis communication planning, theoretically supported strategies, crisis typology and planning resources. Each chapter focuses on critical strategic planning concepts and includes a summary of key points, discussion questions and additional resources for each concept. With this text, nonprofit organizations will be able to strategically plan for organization-specific and emergency management-related crises, develop effective crisis communication plans, garner internal and external support and generate assessment strategies to maintain the relevancy of these plans within their future endeavors.

BookTalk: Public Management as a Design-Oriented Professional Discipline
September 7 | 1 p.m. EDT
Sponsored by the University of New Mexico, School of Public Administration

Michael Barzelay, London School of Economics
Patria de Lancer Julnes, Moderator, Rosenthal Endowed Professor and Director, School of Public Administration, University of New Mexico

What, fundamentally, is public management? This question is rarely answered clearly and confidently, whether by students of public management or academics in the field. This book's argument is grounded in Herbert Simon's ideas about design-oriented professional disciplines. However, Michael Barzelay's argument runs counter to the idea that public management is a design science. It envisions the discipline as a professional practice that requires the thoughtful and skillful use of purposive theories of public organizations, along with reverse-engineered design-precedents, in problem-solving for public programs and organizations.

BookTalk: Democracy Erodes from the Top: Leaders, Citizens and the Challenge of Populism in Europe
September 12 | 1 p.m. EDT

Larry Bartels, Author

Larry Bartels dismantles the pervasive myth of a populist wave sweeping contemporary European public opinion. Using survey data from 23 countries, he shows that Europeans’ attitudes toward immigrants, the EU, politicians and democracy have hardly budged in the 21st century. Where right-wing populist parties have flourished, their success reflects entrepreneurial leadership, the failures of mainstream parties and media hype, not shifting public opinion. Where democratic institutions and norms have eroded—in Hungary and Poland—backsliding has occurred not because voters clamored for authoritarianism but because conventional conservative parties, once elected, seized opportunities to entrench themselves in power. By demonstrating the inadequacy of conventional bottom-up interpretations of Europe’s political crisis, Bartels turns our understanding of democratic politics upside down.

KeepingCurrent: The American Rescue Plan Act: Did It Help Further Evidence and Performance Practices?
September 19 | 1 p.m. EDT
Sponsored by ASPA's Center for Accountability and Performance

Michael Jacobson, Moderator, Deputy Director, King County, Washington, Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) with $130 billion of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) dedicated to local governments. Have the requirements for evidence-based approaches and annual performance reporting enhanced state and local performance management and reporting? How have local jurisdictions adapted their existing processes to address these requirements and have they been able to leverage them to build capacity for the future? Hear from U.S. Treasury and local government representatives discuss the challenges and opportunities around this unprecedented infusion of federal dollars.

From the Archives
KeepingCurrent: Setting Up and Evaluating Programs with an Eye on Equity
The drive toward creating DEIA in the public sector is a significant issue for many governments, as well as the people they serve. How can they establish an environment that fosters these goals and then be held accountable for their success or failure—and how can they achieve better measurement toward improved outcomes? This webinar, sponsored by ASPA's Center for Accountability and Performance, explored a number of related questions including what can governments do to get better at centering racial, economic and gender equity throughout the work they deliver?; how can they best be set up to achieve equity and inclusion outcomes, including effective measurement toward these outcomes?; and what are some tools and best practices that can be used to evaluate programs and services through the lenses of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility? (Members Only)

Fall Is the Perfect Time to Join ASPA!

The summer months are almost behind us and everyone is speeding up for the fall—which means it is time to add new resources to your library and encourage those around you to do the same! The good news is so many resources you need are included in ASPA membership, whether in webinar, article, conference or journal format, saving you time and effort in finding the expertise you need to overcome your challenges.

ASPA's mission is to advance excellence in public service; when you join ASPA, you're not only gaining access to all of our resources but also supporting public service as a profession. Any time is a good time to add your voice to our collective whole and join other members in promoting the great things public service makes happen across society.

If you've been meaning to rejoin ASPA, now's the time to do it. If you are a professor and have classrooms full of students, now is the time to sign them up! If you have never joined ASPA, try it now and see what you've been missing.

Check out our full list of benefits and services online and then head to our application form to sign up. Professors: ASPA can help you sign up groups of students any time. Contact us for assistance.

Every fall we welcome hundreds of new members to our society. We look forward to counting you, your peers and your colleagues among them in the next few months! Join today!

Have You Tried Public Administration Today?

ASPA is proud to sponsor Public Administration Today, bringing together the widest set of expert, thought-leadership content from hundreds of sources. Powered by Aggregage technology, this website uses smart algorithms, social media and audience-driven data—customized to your preferences!—to deliver the most relevant, curated content you can find online.

Use this resource to access the best expert insights, in-depth analysis and latest information from hundreds of sources, all in one place. More, you are welcome to submit your own content to be added to this site.

Folks in the ASPA community who saw our information about this outlet last year may have signed up already. If you have not found this resource yet, head to the website, create your account (it's free!), provide your preferences and start enjoying the information available there!

We are pleased to sponsor this community and hope you make the most of it as one more valued ASPA benefit.

For Purchase: A Call to Serve

Put some motivation in your pocket this fall—or any time of the year!

A Call to Serve is a pocket-sized book of motivational quotes about public service, ethics, compassion, citizenship and more.

Filled with hundreds of quotes from a range of public servants, humanists, philosophers, actors, policymakers and more, this mini-book will help your students remember their public service motivation all year long.

Click here to purchase your copy today! Bulk orders can be accommodated; contact our membership team for quotes and assistance.

JSEPA Releases Second Issue

The second issue of the Journal of Social Equity and Public Administration (JSEPA) was released earlier this summer, including seven articles and three reviews. The next issue is expected in January 2024.

The journal is open access; use the link below to view and download this issue, as well as the first one, which was issued in January 2023.

IBM Center Publishes ERM Issue Brief

Written by Johns Hopkins University Fellow Tom Stanton, a recent issue brief, "Public Management in an Uncertain Environment: Lessons from Enterprise Risk Management," published by the IBM Center for The Business of Government, looks at this topic and how it is used by government today.

As Stanton reports: Harvard Business School Professor Emeritus John Kotter has proposed that business organizations develop networks internally to help their traditional hierarchies function in today’s fast-changing environment. Government too finds itself increasingly beset by difficult problems that challenge the ability of departments and agencies to respond promptly and appropriately. One area where Kotter’s combination of hierarchies and internal networks already functions well is enterprise risk management (ERM). U.S. government organizations are increasingly adopting ERM as a defensive measure to avoid being blindsided by major risks. ERM, and its approach to building new networks into traditional hierarchies, offers important practical lessons about how to improve agility and decisionmaking not only for risk management but also across other government operations.

Public Administration Today Highlight

Public Administration Today features white papers, research and blogs from across the profession. This edition's highlight looks at local entrepreneurialism. 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!

D.C.’s Street Vendor Regulations Formalize the Informal
Via NextCity.org - Informality often makes something beautiful. A rapper freestyling. A jazz musician improvising. A drag queen lip-syncing. Their organic, in-the-moment, uncodified nature is a huge reason they captivate and excite. Street vending is supposed to be the informal version of commerce. In this country, lawmakers and law enforcement have made attempts to codify street vending, and usually it gets pretty ugly, pretty quickly. Maybe this summer in Washington, D.C. will be the start of something different. After years of street vendor-led organizing, earlier this year D.C. Council Members unanimously passed legislation overhauling the District’s street vendor regulations.

Tips, Resources and the Fun Stuff

"We’re All Water-Bottle Freaks"
Americans are drinking more water. How best to contain it: That’s the burning question.

Did Plastic Straw Bans Work? Yes, but Not in the Way You’d Think.
Plastic straws used to be “environment enemy number one.”

With School Back in Session, Three Lunch Ideas That Kids (and Parents) Can Enjoy
Bologna sandwiches may be the easiest kid’s school lunch, but it’s not difficult to prepare brown-bag meals that parents can appreciate too.

Biden’s New Student Loan Repayment Plan Is Open. Here’s How to Enroll.
The income-driven plan, SAVE, will reduce payments for millions of borrowers, and more will qualify for $0 payments.

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

"Long, Long Overdue": An Oral History of the Government Performance and Results Act
The Online Problem That Isn’t Being Solved
By Don Kettl

"IGNITE"ing an Educational Fire in U.S. Jails
By Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene

Tell Me Something Good...

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

U.S. Universities Launch Partnership to Elevate Free Speech to Counter Threats to Democracy
The presidents of a wide-ranging group of 13 universities are elevating free speech on their campuses this academic year, as part of a new nonprofit initiative announced Tuesday to combat what organizers call dire threats to U.S. democracy. The Campus Call for Free Expression will take different forms on different campuses. The campaign, created by The Institute for Citizens & Scholars with funding from the Knight Foundation is designed to cultivate the freedom of expression on campuses and help students work together to find solutions to complicated, divisive problems.


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 and other updates:
  • International Journal of Public Sector Management Call for Papers
    IJPSM is releasing a call for papers for a special issue: Governance and accountability of multiple values of municipal corporations. Municipal corporations have been established in different parts of the world to provide local public services (such as infrastructure, utilities, education, health care, cultural and social services) under the influence of new public management doctrines and related neoliberal ideologies. Their hybrid organizational nature implies that their governance is permeated by a multiplicity of values. Scant attention has been paid by previous scholars to how different actors (i.e. board members, auditors, controllers, CSR managers, etc.) and their values affect goals in hybrid municipal corporations and their role in the development of governance and accountability practices. The aim of this special issue is to improve the theoretical and practical understanding of the drivers, obstacles, and tensions for value creation and the accounting implications in municipally owned corporations. This special issue also will explore the role of governance and accountability practices to disclose multiple values created by municipal corporations, with a particular focus on the societal and public values. Editors encourage theoretical, conceptual and empirical submissions from different institutional contexts and by scholars across disciplines. The guest editors will run an online CIRIEC workshop on September 21 and 22, 2023, where authors will be given an opportunity to present and get feedback on their research. The deadline for submissions (full or work-in-progress papers formatted in line with IJPSM’s submission requirements) to the workshop is August 31, via email.

  • 2023 NECoPA Call for Papers
    The 2023 Northeastern Conference on Public Administration (NECoPA) will take place online November 2-3; the theme is "Flexible Governance and Public Service in a Post-Pandemic World." The theme recognizes that the events of the last three years accelerated the reliance of public and nonprofit organizations on increased digital governance, which transformed service delivery and work relations. But during this digital transformation, the lines between work and life have been blurred, and residents expect the public and nonprofit sectors to deliver services at a faster pace and during unconventional/flexible hours of operation. Public and nonprofit administration has been tasked with adapting and managing public service programs in this evolving world to ensure services continue to be delivered effectively, efficiently, equitably and responsibly in both in-person and remote formats. The conference welcomes proposals related to this theme or additional topics relevant to public and nonprofit administration. The deadline for submissions has been extended; it is now September 22. Contact [email protected] for more information.

  • Public Money and Management Call for Manuscripts
    Public Money and Management will publish a theme issue in 2024 that comparatively explores the recruitment, training and retention of senior public officials. There have been many changes in approach to the recruitment, training and retention of senior public officials in different regions across the globe, including a general trend away from purely merit-based recruitment toward the focus on and acquisition of definable skills. This has occurred alongside a more nuanced recognition of the need to reflect greater diversity in the background of public officials in many countries. In the drive to gain more efficient and effective delivery of public services, and to overcome the wicked problems often grappled within the public sector, the move to skills-based recruitment and training alongside attention to equality and diversity concerns frequently coincide in modernization drives. This theme seeks to solicit articles from an international range of sources to address the question: How should we recruit and retain a public service fit for purpose and what will it look like? All research articles are due November 20; debate and ND articles are due January 31, 2024. Click here for more information.

  • 2024 COMPA Conference Call for Proposals
    The COMPA 2024 conference will take place February 25-28 in New Orleans. The theme is "Reshaping Public Administration: A Search for Self-Determined, Participatory and Sustainable Governments." The conference serves as a call to all public servants—scholars, public and nonprofit practitioners, and community advocates and stakeholders—who seek to rethink the future of local communities by revisiting past and present experiences as the foundation for engaging debate on reshaping self-determined, participatory and sustainable local community initiatives. COMPA 2024 challenges public administrators, researchers, scholars, policy wonks, think tanks, nonprofits, faculty, students and both scholars and practitioners across multiple fields and professions to rethink the future of local communities by revisiting past and present experiences as the foundation for engaging debate and reshaping self-determined, participatory and sustainable local community initiatives. We will examine the future of local government and tackle those issues that most directly impact each of us. We welcome research and praxis from different backgrounds and methodological orientations, current updates to traditional models and frameworks, and other emergent perspectives on all issues of public service related to the theme. All proposals are due December 15. Click here for more information.



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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