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

October 13, 2021

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ASPA 2022 Annual Conference Call for Proposals Closes October 29!

ASPA's 2022 Annual Conference will take place in person, March 18-22 in Jacksonville, Florida. Our Call for Proposals is accepting entries through October 29 across seven tracks and presentation and session ideas are rolling in. Take this opportunity now to review the details and finalize your proposal by the October 29 deadline! We're excited to see what you want to talk about!

The 2022 Annual Conference will feature more than 130 panels across seven tracks, centering around the theme, “Democracy under Threat: The Future of Equality in a Post-COVID World.” Actively engaging in some of the most challenging conversations our society is facing, this conference will showcase best practices and lessons learned so we all can take steps to shore up democracy and equality around the world.

The past several years have witnessed emergent and growing threats against both social equality and public health. The gulf between the "haves" and "have nots" is not new but recent decades have seen it widen dramatically, encouraged by economics, partisan politics, racism, sexism and more. Far too often, policies characterized and put forward as benefiting the middle class and poor have, in fact, provided much greater benefit to the most affluent members of society.

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened things: Those with the most often have benefited; those with the least often have been the most victimized and fallen further behind. Simultaneously, attacks on democracy and integrity of governance—both in the United States and abroad—have frustrated service delivery, lowered morale, increased burdens and reduced trust in government to an all-time low and further impeded countries’ abilities to combat the pandemic. Where do we go from here?

The questions we are tasked to solve are never ending. Living wage or minimum wage? Universal child care or private systems? Flexible work environments or status quo? Broadband for all or pay to play? Access to health care and at what cost? Fix the bridge or build a road around? Who gets vaccines? Who gets to vote? Most important: Who gets to decide and whose rights and freedoms matter more? Our answers will impact how we define and encourage democracy and equality—and effective public administration as a result.

The 2022 Annual Conference will address the most challenging concerns our society faces right now: Upholding democratic institutions and advancing equality. Practitioners, scholars and students from around the world are encouraged to attend and contribute their research and practice to this critical dialogue. We will need ideas and strategies from a variety of cultures and perspectives to move forward and shore up our threatened systems.

Tracks for this year's event include:

  • Social Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Managing for Meaningful Public Service
  • Effective and Equitable Public Policy and Service Delivery in an Era of Growing Inequality
  • Financial Management and Planning for Uncertainty
  • Protecting and Replacing Aging Structures
  • Comparative Government and International Administration
  • Good Governance and Democracy in an Uncertain Political Environment
Remember: All submissions are due October 29, 2021. Click here to view full details and finalize your ideas soon!

ASPA staff are constantly monitoring the changing dynamics and variables associated with in person events. We are working closely with hotel sales and events staff to ensure that the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville meets all requirements and our expectations, regarding both our attendees' health and safety and our programmatic needs. We soon will announce a set of health and safety protocols for the 2022 conference. They will be announced when registration launches later this month. Contact [email protected] with any questions.


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 Students and New Professionals series programming. Members, visit our webinar archives to catch up on what you have missed!

BookTalk: Recovery: How We Can Create a Better, Brighter Future After a Crisis
October 14 | 4 p.m. EDT
Andrew Wear, Author

The recovery period following the COVID-19 crisis will be at least as important to our future wellbeing as the crisis response, but it will require a different approach from our governments. With none of us having experienced a post-pandemic recovery before, we’ll have to look further afield for insights. Many places have recovered successfully from crises in the past—from war, pandemic, recession and natural disaster—and their experiences have much to teach us. These places have frequently gone on to create a better future than the one that existed beforehand, and should give us cause for optimism. Through interviews with experts, policymakers and community leaders, Australian civil servant and author, Andrew Wear has examined past recoveries for his new book, Recovery. How we can create a better, brighter future after a crisis. Drawing on the insights from his book, this session will explore the implications for public administration as we commence the process of shaping our recovery.

KeepingCurrent: Implementing the $350 Billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund
Sponsored by ASPA's Center for Accountability and Performance
October 20 | 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. EDT
Jed Herrmann, Senior Advisor, Office of Recovery Programs, U.S. Department of the Treasury
John Hicks, Budget Director, State of Kentucky
John M. Kamensky, Moderator, Emeritus Fellow, IBM Center for The Business of Government
Shamiah Kerney, Director, Office of Recovery Programs, City of Baltimore

In May 2021, states and localities across the country started receiving their first allocation out of a $350 billion fund created by the American Rescue Plan, passed by Congress earlier this year. According to the U.S. Treasury, which is responsible for managing this program, this historic windfall is intended to “help turn the tide on the pandemic, address its economic fallout and lay the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery.” There is substantial flexibility in how these funds can be used. This panel will discuss this program from the perspectives of each level of government involved in its implementation, with special attention to performance and accountability issues.

Celebrating a Career of Excellence: Michael Massiah

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced the retirement of Michael G. Massiah, chief diversity and inclusion officer (CDIO). Mike is a model public servant who has provided more than 40 years of dedicated, exceptional service to his agency and is a giant of the organization. His career there has been exceptional.

Massiah started in the agency as a management trainee and rose through the ranks in the human resources department to become the manager of HR employment in 1990 and immediately implemented key recruiting processes to focus on building inclusive, diverse pools of applicants from the communities that neighbor its facilities.

Massiah took on a new challenge in 1996 when he was appointed director of the office of business and job opportunities, where he led efforts to expand diversity programs in a multitude of areas.

In 1999, Massiah returned to HR as the deputy director with the mandate to modernize the department, which he did by implementing best practices that would fundamentally shift the HR function from process-driven to a client-focused, collaborative service provider to the organization. And in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, he devoted countless hours, personal energy and compassion to overseeing the Port Authority's family liaison program, setting up crisis centers to assist families and strengthening the connection between HR and employees.

In 2003, he conquered a milestone and was promoted to become the first African American director of human resources in the agency’s tenure. Shortly thereafter he was asked to lead the office of organizational effectiveness and change management—a novel first step into continuous improvement. His approach resulted in agency-wide initiatives that reduced operating expenses by $150 million through sweeping cost efficiencies.

In 2006, he was tapped to lead the management and budget department as director where, for eight years, he oversaw the development of the agency's capital and operating budgets, cost control measures and continuous improvement strategies. Always striving for best-in-class results, under his tenure the department received its first Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association.

In 2014, Massiah was promoted to a “chief”—a small group of highly accomplished senior executives—tasked with working with a cadre of seasoned leaders overseeing broad functional areas and multiple departments. In his role, he successfully led six diverse capital and operating departments. A few years later, he would step into one of his most important roles when he was appointed the agency’s first chief diversity and inclusion officer and quickly established the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, combining the Business Diversity and Civil Rights, Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance, and Workforce Diversity and Inclusion divisions. He has collaborated closely with department leaders and cross-functional teams in the agency and the region to implement policies, priorities and change management strategies to ensure an agency culture that embraces and strengthens workforce and business diversity and inclusion. Nowhere is this important work more tangible than the agency’s commitment to expanding programs and increasing opportunities for minority-owned, woman-owned and local businesses to participate on Port Authority contracts to achieve the MWBE utilization goal of 30 percent.

He was appointed chairperson of the Leadership Steering Committee on Race Dynamics (LSC) in June 2020, following the murder of George Floyd and the resulting call to address social injustice and the negative consequences of systemic racism. Under his thoughtful leadership and steady hand, the LSC’s work included listening to more than 2,400 employees, analyzing data and forming diverse employee volunteer action teams, ultimately producing 25 far-reaching initiatives that raise standards for workplace fairness, equity, diversity and inclusion, and that will have a lasting effect on our employees at all levels.

Congratulations, Mike, on your long and accomplished career at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Share Your Pandemic Experiences and Perspectives: Participate in ASPA’s Pandemic Survey

ASPA's Pandemic Committee is requesting your participation in a research study.

They are conducting an administrative study of the professional activities related to the pandemic that members have undertaken during these complex and unprecedented times. It is their intention to highlight the findings from this research as an official organizational after action report at the 2022 Annual Conference as part of a presidential panel.

As a voluntary participant in this study, they are asking you to participate in an online survey, which should take you about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. After completing the survey, you will be asked if you would be willing to participate in a follow-up focus group to clarify the data.

There is only minimal risk as a study participant. Your participation is completely voluntary and there will be no penalty for choosing not to participate. Since your participation is voluntary, you are also not obligated to answer any question that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Only Dr. Claire Connolly Knox, a member of the Pandemic Committee, will know of your participation in this study. Please be assured that your responses will be kept completely confidential. Your research results, minus any identifying information, may be published and used in future research studies examining similar topics. The material findings and conclusions will be combined rather than discussed as originating from an individual source.

If you would be willing to participate in the study, please click here.

Your consideration and participation in the project is appreciated. Please contact Dr. Knox with any questions.

An Invitation to Join!

Are you interested in Procurement or Contract Management?

If your answer is YES (and we hope it is), the Section on Procurement and Contract Management is kindly inviting you to join its membership. For more information, please contact Section Chair Ana-Maria Dimand or Section Membership Coordinator Roslyn Alic-Batson.

You also can find them on social media via Facebook and Twitter!

United Nations Report, "Changing Mindsets to Realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," Released

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (UN DESA/DPIDG) is pleased to inform you that its report, “Changing Mindsets to Realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” is now available here.

The concept for this publication was developed in 2019 as a follow-up to its workshop, “Mobilizing and Equipping Public Servants to Realize the 2030 Agenda," which brought together worldwide experts on the subject of changing mindsets and allowed for insightful discussions with many schools of public administration. The publication is a companion document to the Curriculum on Governance for the Sustainable Development Goals and its Toolkit on Changing Mindsets in Public Institutions to Implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was developed by UN DESA, Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG).

This report aims to support countries in building their capacities to realize Agenda 2030 by providing key recommendations on how to promote public servants’ mindsets, competencies and behaviors to foster effectiveness, accountability and inclusiveness in the public sector. Contact the United Nations Public Administration Network for more information.

New Report from Barrett and Greene, Kettl Looks at Managing the Next Crisis

Governments and societies continue to face the unforeseen and unprecedented challenges of responding to and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The experiences of the last 18 months have pointed to the importance of well-managed actions at the local, national and cross-border levels. Many of these steps address issues that are now well-documented, including medical support for testing, contact tracing and vaccine management; supply chain challenges around vaccine production and distribution; impacts on local job markets; and the importance of addressing equity in delivering needed social services.

In this recently released report, authors Katherine Barrett, Rich Greene and Don Kettl step back to understand how governments have operated in developing strategies and programs to address these global, societal challenges. Based on extensive research and interviews, the authors develop 12 principles, each accompanied by a recommended set of actions, for government to follow in addressing future crises. Importantly, these principles and actions can enable government officials to help their constituencies advance through the current stages of COVID response and recovery, and to emerge stronger and more resilient.

Interested in this topic? Join us for tomorrow's BookTalk with Andrew Wear to look at this question from a global perspective. Details are above in this newsletter.

In Memoriam: Joseph Strasser

Joseph Strasser, an expert public administrator and budget officer, died on September 12 at the age of 89, following a lengthy illness.

Strasser was a long-time ASPA member, beginning his affiliation in 1959 and staying involved with the national organization and the Northeast Florida Chapter—of which he was president three times—through 2014.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in history, Strasser served as a finance officer in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict. He attended Syracuse University's Maxwell School where he received a master's of public administration.

Strasser was the first budget officer of Savannah, Georgia, where he was nominated as Young Man of the Year for saving DeKalb County a quarter of a million dollars. He later served the city of Jacksonville, Florida, as budget officer, where, among many other achievements, he introduced civilian, professionally trained fiscal administrators into fire and police departments. He served in various fiscal posts and found success as a land investor in Jacksonville until he retired in 1996.

Strasser was a member of the board of Tree Hill, a 50-acre nature park in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida; he donated funds to renovate the park’s amphitheater, replace its main gate and provide for operation and maintenance. He supported First Coast No More Homeless Pets, whose veterinary clinic is now located in the Joseph A. Strasser Animal Health and Welfare Building in Jacksonville.

Click here to view his full obituary via Syracuse University.

Tips and Resources

Feds Will Pay 3.8 Percent More Toward Health Care Premiums Next Year
Cost growth during 2021 stems largely from specialty drugs, treatments for chronic illnesses and the COVID-19 pandemic, insurers said, although federal workers will be impacted less than employees of other large organizations.

A Profession Is Not a Personality
Reducing yourself to any single characteristic, whether it be your title or your job performance, is a deeply damaging act.

Why Are Americans Still—Still!—Wearing Cloth Masks?
It’s long past time for an upgrade.

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 Service Social Equity


(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 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

ASPA members are in the news in a variety of ways. 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.

Public Health Should Be "Pivotal" Part of Emergency Response
By Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene

BYU Study Finds Practical Solution to Conflict Arising As Workplaces Become More Diverse in Ethical Leadership
Featuring research from Robert Christensen

Meet Our Fellows: H. Brinton Milward
NAPA profiles ASPA member H. Brinton Milward.

The Failure of Government's Post-COVID Imagination
By Don Kettl

To Pay or Not to Pay? What Citizens Think Governments Should Do When Responding to Ransomware Attacks
By Ron Sanders and Stephen Neely

'How We Do Things Matters': UW-Oshkosh's New Whitburn Center Aims to Preserve Good Government
Highlighting the work Michael Ford and Samantha Larson's Center is undertaking.

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

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:
  • South Florida Chapter Podcast Episode Released
    The most recent episode of "Public Sector Works" has been released and is now available wherever you get your podcasts. This month they interview Mayor Shirley Gibson of Miami Gardens, Florida, the first mayor of this city since 2003, as she recounts her professional journey. Hosts Tom Hotz (South Florida Chapter board member; MPA and Adjunct Professor, Business Communications, Stephen F Austin State University) and William Solomon (South Florida Chapter board member) lead this interview. Click here to access the podcast.

  • SICA Announces Annual Awards Call for Nominations
    ASPA's Section on International and Comparative Administration (SICA) is seeking nominations for its 2022 Fred Riggs Award for Lifetime Achievement in International and Comparative Public Administration, David Gould Scholarship and Col Leadership Award. Awards will be announced in January 2022 and offered at the 2022 SICA business meeting during ASPA's 2022 Annual Conference.

    The Fred Riggs Award was established by SICA in 1985 to recognize scholars who made significant and widely recognized contributions to the conceptual, theoretical and/or operational progress in the fields of international, comparative and/or development administration. This award is named in honor of Fred W. Riggs, a pioneer in these fields and a leading founder of SICA. The award is made annually at the SICA Business Meeting held in conjunction with the ASPA Annual Conference. All nomination materials should be sent directly to Meghna Sabharwal by December 1, 2021.

    The David Gould Scholarship offers talented graduate students in the fields of public administration, public policy or international development some support to facilitate their participation in the ASPA Annual Conference. This Scholarship is named in honor of David Gould, an active SICA member and long-time professor of public administration at the University of Pittsburgh. He was among those killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, December 21, 1988. Each year one or two students receive a nominal stipend to attend the ASPA Annual Conference and SICA’s Riggs Symposium. For the 2022 ASPA annual conference, the stipend will help students defray registration costs. All nomination materials should be sent directly to Charlene M. L. Roach by December 1, 2021.

    The 2022 Col Leadership Award was established by SICA in 2016 and recognizes individual members who have made significant contributions to the development of the Section. Send all nominations to Col Leadership Award Chair Aroon Manoharan by December 1, 2021.

  • Journal of African Transformation Special Edition Call for Papers
    The journal invites papers and submissions for its special edition on the theme “Challenges and opportunities for curbing illicit financial flows to boost domestic resource mobilization for financing sustainable development in Africa." The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development1 identifies the reduction of illicit financial flows (IFFs) as a priority area to build peaceful societies around the world. Combating IFFs is a crucial component of global efforts to promote peace, justice and strong institutions, as reflected in target 16.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals; “By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime”. Key research questions for this special edition include: What is the nature of IFFs in different African countries?; How do IFFs impact the state and society in Africa?; What are the main challenges African countries are facing in effectively curbing IFFs?; What kind of reforms can African countries undertake in curbing IFFs?; How can digitalization and technological transformation create opportunities for curbing IFFs?; How can Africa take advantage of developments on the international stage with various initiatives aimed at curbing aspect of IFFs?; How can Africa overcome the challenges it is confronted with in recovering assets lost through IFFs?; and How can global coalition on addressing IFFs be foisted and strengthened in addressing the problem? All manuscripts are due by December 15, 2021. 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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Please send inquiries to Managing Editor Karen E. T. Garrett.