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

November 24, 2020

ASPANet.org | PA TIMES.org | Donate to ASPA

In This Issue:

ASPA National Council Calls for Repeal of Executive Order 13957: An Update

As we announced in an earlier edition of The Bridge, ASPA's National Council unanimously passed a resolution at the end of October calling on President Trump to repeal Executive Order 13957, creating a "Schedule F" classification within the civil service and threatening employees' protections. Failing that, the National Council advised Congress to exercise appropriate oversight and legal authorities to resist this action.

In the weeks since that time, more than 40 Senators have signed a bill to block this order, retroactive to October 21, the date President Trump signed the executive order.

Further, ASPA's executive committee, on behalf of its National Council, joined more than 20 good governance groups last week in signing on to a letter put forward by the Senior Executive Service and the Partnership for Public Service to call for Congress to block appropriations to fund the executive order. (The letter is still collecting signatures; should individuals or organizations be interested in signing on, click here to do so.)

These actions are important steps toward fighting the executive order, as agencies continue to move forward with implementation. It was announced in recent days that the Office of Management and Budget has completed its task as required by the executive order and has classified 88 percent of its workers (425 personnel) as Schedule F. Former Department of Homeland Security Chief Human Resources Officer Jeff Neal outlines what this means and possible procedures we can expect in his blog on the topic.

ASPA continues to watch this issue and will share more details as they are available.

Back to Top

PA TIMES Magazine Fall Edition Focuses on COVID-19; Winter Edition Coming Soon!

The Fall 2020 edition of PA TIMES Magazine has been posted to the ASPA website! Make sure you download your copy, which includes the latest public sector news and trends from leaders in the profession.

This edition focuses on COVID-19's effects on public service, featuring more than 15 articles looking at the pandemic from a variety of perspectives. Just a few of the pieces you'll find inside include:

  • The Impact of COVID-19 on the Census Effort in California
  • Managing a City in a Pandemic
  • Can ALICE Households Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic?
  • The Lessons of COVID-19 for the Administrative State
  • Through the Lens of COVID-19: Confronting Public Systems That Produce Inequities
  • The Response to COVID-19 in Mexico
Also including important member news, columns and In Memoriam from recent months, this edition is a must-read. Download your copy today—and as you read through it, think about whether you have any news or other items to contribute to the winter edition! To be released shortly, the next edition of PA TIMES magazine will focus on civics. If you have member news to be included, send it to [email protected] so we can include it in the release.

We also have advertising space open—and at a discount! If you have an advertising budget to spend before December 31, now is a great time to look at PA TIMES. With a variety of sizes and spaces open, you can have prime placement in the magazine alongside the topic of our times: Civics—in education, engagement and more. Contact us for more information.

Back to Top


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!

KeepingCurrent: The 2020 Census: A Question of Quality and Integrity
In Partnership with the Center for Accountability and Performance
December 2 | 1 p.m. ET
Benjamin Chevat, 911 Health Watch Inc. and Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act Inc.
Nancy Potok, Former Chief Statistician of the United States
Antoinette Samuel, Moderator, Retired

The execution of the U.S. Census is essential to our democracy and the activities related to the collection, processing and dissemination (the CPD) are critical. These actions must be timely, reliable and valid. Do we have these for the 2020 Census? This webinar will answer this question while exploring the current status of each stage (collection, processing and dissemination), and the challenges, solutions and outcomes associated with them.

BookTalk: Why Research Methods Matter: Essential Skills for Decision Making
December 9 | 1 p.m. ET
RaJade Berry-James, Associate Professor, North Carolina State University
Susan Gooden, Dean and Professor, Wilder School, Virginia Commonwealth University

This concise resource provides practical applications of why research methods are important for public administrators who do not routinely perform data analysis, but often find themselves having to evaluate and make important decisions based on the data analysis and evaluative reports they receive. It also is intended as a supplemental text for research methods courses at the graduate level and upper division undergraduate level. Why Research Methods Matter is essential reading for current and future managers in the public sector who seek to become savvy consumers of research. Join us for this event to hear from the authors about this important work.

Those who join us for this webinar will also be able to take part in recognizing and honoring awardees from our 2020 awards program. We will be conveying a handful of awards during this BookTalk, honoring achievements from across the discipline. (Click here or scroll down if you are interested in applying for a 2021 award.)

Back to Top

Less Than Two Weeks Left to Vote in ASPA's 2020-2021 Elections

Remember: Voting in ASPA's 2020 election is open through midnight on Friday, December 4. You have less than two weeks to cast your ballot and vote for the individuals you most want to serve in ASPA's leadership positions.

This year, the following positions are open for election:

  • President-Elect who, upon completion of a two-year term, will serve as ASPA's President for a two-year term.
  • District Representative (for Districts I, II, III, IV and V) who will serve a three-year term representing their electoral District within the United States.
  • Candidates for Student Representative who will serve a one-year term representing both Student and New Professional members of ASPA.
Click here to learn more about the candidates running for office.

Additionally, you will have the opportunity to vote on a proposed amendment to ASPA's bylaws. Click here to read the memo presented by ASPA National President Kendra Stewart to learn more.

You will need your ASPA login information to vote. Please contact ASPA's membership department at [email protected] or at (202) 585-4308 for assistance. (Need a paper ballot mailed to you? Please let us know!)

Ballots are open for 11 more days. This is your opportunity to engage in ASPA's democratic process and choose who will represent your needs and concerns on the National Council and beyond. Vote by Friday, December 4!

Back to Top


Send Us Your #ASPA2021 Proposals

ASPA's 2021 Annual Conference Call for Proposals is online; we will be accepting submissions through December 11. There are fewer than three weeks until the deadline, so plan your proposal soon!

We encourage all interested parties to submit a proposal: academics, practitioners, nonprofit experts and beyond! More, since the 2021 Annual Conference will be entirely online, we encourage our friends and partners from around the world to join us. Submitting a proposal is simple: Pick your track (there are six options), determine your focus area and describe your presentation!

ASPA's 2021 Annual Conference is tackling the turmoil of our current environment head on this April. It's time to restore the integrity of our republic and institutions abroad. Recent months have provided the public sector around the world with serious crises to solve and tested our abilities to do so: COVID-19, protests against social injustices and economic decline have all become top priorities. Meanwhile, long-standing challenges like climate change, transportation, infrastructure, water quality and global unrest have continued to simmer, requiring attention with much more limited resources. What does our future look like and how do we begin to recover and work toward a post-COVID-19 world? ASPA's 2021 Annual Conference will delve into the most pressing topics affecting our profession and provide space for new solutions.

Simmering under COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement and the myriad administrative burdens both have uncovered is a recognition of the fact that the systems that undergird our nation—health care, transit and transportation, budgeting and finance, the social safety net, environmental protections, education and more—are in serious disrepair, no longer working for all members of our society. There are serious administrative limitations and burdens placed on the most vulnerable in our society, constraining them from reaching their fullest potential, and limiting our country's potential as a result. Recovering from a year of pandemics and protests means evaluating these underlying systems and, instead of finding band-aids, envisioning new ways to support our society. Examining strategies international communities and regions have effectively employed can inform the American experience and offer new approaches to ensure success.

The 2021 Annual Conference will convene scholars, practitioners and students from around the world to look at the big problems we're all facing and the systems in which they operate, while working toward a future that is more equitable for all. Our call for proposals is for an online conference, enabling participants to contribute to this important conversation from any location, eliminating travel concerns for those who are unable to join us in person and ensuring we have as many diverse voices as possible to contribute to this conversation.

Detailed track descriptions are on our website, including sub-categories to guide your submission. Please review each description and think carefully about where your proposal fits best. Many topics featured in prior conferences—human resources, public safety, emergency management, public administration theory, legal and ethical frameworks, the environment, ethics and technology—are critical to this dialogue and are incorporated.

A Preview of Track Four—"Fixing" Our Government: Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again

Things break or fall apart or fail to work properly. It's a fact of life. When things break, you can glue the pieces back together, you can find the broken pieces and fix them or you can replace it entirely with a newer, better model that fits your current needs. The U.S. government apparatus—the agencies that run it, the administrative bodies that put policies to work—is failing, resulting in inequities across society as some groups of people are better served than others. What is the best solution: glue, fixing pieces or replacing them with new components to better serve our times? It depends on the system, but something must be done. It's time for the federal government to take control, set policy and provide our country with an equitable apparatus that works for everyone, focused on the most important challenges of our time, instead of piecemeal approaches that only partially work, focusing on challenges from decades ago. We’re looking for innovation, new approaches and cutting-edge models of the “things” that will put our government back together again. Focus areas include:

  • Options for reorganizing the federal government system for current priorities
  • Lessons learned from COVID-19
  • Agency capacity across federal administration
  • Federalism in the 21st century
  • Civil service reform
  • Strengthening ethics laws and combatting corruption
  • Nationwide cross-departmental coordination and communication
  • Strengthening inspectors' general role across federal agencies
  • Structural injustices
  • Encouraging flexibility across agencies and departments
  • Equitable service delivery across government
Looking for more tracks and topics? We have five others, offering a flexible range of subjects into which your work may fit including global public administration, public finance, infrastructure, the public service workforce and social equity. Click here to learn more.

View our Presenters Guidelines here to learn more details that will help you shape a perfect proposal. Answers to some frequently asked questions also are provided.

Remember: All proposals are due by December 11. Start planning yours now!

Back to Top


ASPA Opens Its Annual Awards Call for Nominations

ASPA's Annual Awards Program is your once-a-year opportunity to nominate someone to be recognized as one of public administration's dedicated public servants.

  • Do you know a current or former city official who has dedicated themselves to the public good?
  • Do you know a public official who has stood up for equity and integrity in government?
  • Do you know someone who has bridged the academic/practitioner divide and encouraged best practices because of it?
  • Do you know someone who is all-around excellent?
We're sure you do!

Review this year's details and nominate them to be recognized for their efforts during the 2021 Annual Conference! More than 20 awards will honor more than 30 individuals and organizations advancing excellence in public service at all levels. Your name, or one you know, could be on the list!

This year's nomination categories are:
  • National Public Service Award
  • Rosslyn Kleeman Keeper of the Flame Award
  • Public Integrity Award
  • Donald C. Stone Service to ASPA Award
  • Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Exemplary Practices Award
  • Center for Accountability and Performance Awards
  • Walter W. Mode Scholarship
  • Wallace O. Keene ASPA Conference Scholarship
  • Oveta Culp Hobby Chapter/Section Training Award
  • Patricia Yearwood Chapter/Section Newsletter Award
Find more details about these awards online; each represents a tremendous honor to those exhibiting excellence in public service. City managers, local government service providers, public health advocates, federal civil servants, nonprofit executives, organizations and more are all eligible and our committees look forward to considering a wide range of nominees.

Every year more than 30 public servants are recognized by ASPA for exemplifying the best of public administration, but only those who are nominated can be considered! Find more information online and begin work on your nomination today.

Back to Top


National Civic Review Fall Edition Available

The most recent edition of the National Civic Review has been distributed while our nation continues to process a crucial presidential election, deals with a terrible pandemic and grapples with vexing racial disparities. An article by Martín Carcasson discusses approaching the challenge of public deliberation as a “wicked problem,” in other words, an issue or challenge with conflicting underlying values and no technical solution. Perhaps at this juncture we are in a “wicked time,” a period with similar attributes of conflicting values and complexity.

This edition of the Review was published in collaboration with Charles F. Kettering Foundation. The National Civic League hopes the articles will provide some ideas and tools to rally communities across the country to address complex issues and thrive.

You can access this edition by going directly to the table of contents and entering your access code (ASPA20) when prompted.

Back to Top

2020 Census: An Update

Announced last week, the Census Bureau told the Commerce Department that it will be unable to meet President Trump's deadline for a population count, which would have enabled the White House to remove immigrants from the totals calculated into apportionment data and more. The Commerce Department cited a growing number of snags in the massive data-processing operation that generates population totals, which has delayed the completion of population calculations until January 26, at earliest, and perhaps until mid-February.

Join us for our webinar next week, where we will look closer at the 2020 Census and its potential outcomes. See the article earlier in this edition for more details.

Back to Top

Public Integrity Symposium Call for Papers—The New 4 Es

Public Integrity has announced a collaboration with ASPA's Section on Democracy and Social Justice to offer a symposium: "The New 4 Es: Fostering Engagement, Empathy, Equity and Ethics in an Era of Uncertainty." Guest editors are Richard Greggory Johnson, III (University of San Francisco), Sean McCandless (University of Illinois—Springfield) and Seth Meyer (Bridgewater State University).

All proposals are due by December 1, 2020. Click here for more information.

Back to Top

Public Administration Review Seeks to Add One or More Managing Editors

Are you interested in taking on a meaningful service to the discipline? Do you want to become more familiar with the black box of academic publishing? Are you a faculty member in a tenured or tenure-track position? Do you have a passion for public administration? This might be the perfect opportunity for you!

What you should bring:

  • Energetic approach and solid work ethic—a willingness to perform duties in a thorough and timely fashion.
  • Deep scholarly interest in the public administration literature.
  • PAR publishes in English; command of the English language, particularly written communication is essential, as are proofreading and copyediting skills.
  • Altruistic motivation: a desire to better the discipline for its constituents.
  • Attention to detail, self-motivation and enthusiasm for the work.
What duties can you expect to perform? (Our division of labor means there will be some variation from person to person):
  • Technical review of manuscripts and assignment to the Editor-in-Chief for processing.
  • Identify potential reviewers for manuscripts and make recommendations to the Editor-in-Chief.
  • Identify, report and send reminders to tardy reviewers.
  • Review manuscripts missing reviewers and recommend replacements to the Editor-in-Chief.
  • Maintain and update editorial board roster and mailing lists.
  • Maintain and update user records in Editorial Manager.
  • Proof manuscripts before final publication.
Are there other things I should know?
  • You will be acknowledged online and on the inside cover of each issue.
  • There is no compensation for any member of PAR's editorial team; we are a wholly voluntary organization. Many editorial team members receive support from their institutions in the form of course release or travel funding. It is up to you to negotiate this with your institution if selected.
  • Managing Editors report directly to the Editor-in-Chief.
  • The efficiency of the Managing Editor is essential to keeping our key performance metrics in line, particularly making decisions in a timely fashion.
Interested? How to apply:
Send, via email, a letter of interest (no more than one page) detailing your interest in the position and relevant experience; a copy of your CV; and a list of three references we may consult. Please send to [email protected]. Applications received by November 30, 2020 will receive full consideration. A selection will be made by mid-December and duties will begin January 1, 2021.

Find this announcement online.

Back to Top


Tips and Resources

Here are a range of resources posted online recently that you should check out!

An Open Letter to Public Servants
"Now the work begins" is the clarion call you've likely heard—and have come to expect—on the cusp of a new president and administration coming into office. But if you're one of the millions of career government employees who made a choice to serve, the work never ended. You continue processing Social Security payments, directing public safety efforts, administering benefits, fighting fires—and then some. This open letter to government employees includes sage and encouraging words from current and former civil servants whose wisdom is relevant for this moment and for the journey ahead.

How Your Brain Tricks You Into Taking Risks During the Pandemic
Experts who study the way we think and make decisions say that it can be more than politics driving our decisionmaking this year. The unprecedented nature of the pandemic undermines how we process information and assess risk. Need proof? Look around.

Light Therapy Lamps Can Ease Seasonal Depression. Here's What You Need to Know.
Seasonal affective disorder, which recurs annually, is a form of clinical depression and has the same symptoms. These can include feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and in extreme cases, thoughts of suicide or death. But experts say there is a simple and effective treatment: light therapy, delivered via specially designed lamps.

The Pandemic Safety Rule That Really Matters
Don't spend time indoors with people outside your household.

Retirement Gets Real: The Final To-Do List
If you're one of those people who picked a best date to retire awhile ago and have selected the end of this year as your time to go, it's time to start the countdown. Here's a list of to-do items to keep in mind as you eye the calendar.

Sedentary Pandemic Life Is Bad for Our Happiness
The times when we most want comfort and rest may paradoxically be the times we most need to move, for the sake of our well-being.

A COVID-Fighting Tool Is Buried in Your Phone. Turn It On.
Millions of Americans now have access to free, anonymous coronavirus exposure notifications. Too bad so few people use them.

We released other lists of resources in previous editions of Bridge, dating back to April. Check out our archives and look for the "Tips and Resources" articles to find them!

Back to Top

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 Back to Top


(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
Back to Top


Members in the News

ASPA members continue to make 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.

New Podcast Launched: Why Public Service?
Kevin Kosar, formerly of the R Street Group and now with AEI, has launched a podcast, interviewing civil servants about why they eek careers in public service? Each episode features an interview with an individual who made the choice to participate in governing our country. Some guests have worked for the government, while others found their callings at private sector organizations including think tanks, philanthropies and political groups. No matter which path they chose, however, they all share the same basic goal: to improve our country through public service.

Back to Top

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:

  • African Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM) Public Financial Management Training
    Kenya School of Government
    December 7-11
    Registration is open. Contact AAPAM for more information.

  • SEA's Leadership Development Summit: The Future of Government Leadership is Now
    The Senior Executives Association is hosting a three-day virtual leadership summit, December 8-10, designed to empower participants to take ideas about the future of work and apply them to today. Between the pandemic, the shift to fully remote work environments, changing economy and talented thinkers, the ideas that drive how work and leadership will be handled in the future are being tested immediately. The government's leaders are being challenged to meet this new work dynamic head on—which may require different ways of thinking and being. Join colleagues from all across the government to explore, learn, take time to focus on yourself and build connections. (Provide promo code 2020SUMMIT to receive $50 off the registration fee.)
    Register today to reserve your spot.

  • 2021 COMPA Conference
    Dallas, Texas
    February 25-28, 2021
    The Call for Papers is online; proposals are due by January 15, 2021. Registration is open; early-bird registration expires January 15, 2021. Click here for more information.

  • 2021 ASPA Annual Conference
    Online, starting April 9
    Theme: "Picking Up the Pieces: Pandemic, Protests and the Future of Public Service"
    The Call for Proposals is online; proposals are due by December 11, 2020.

  • 2021 International Conference on Public Administration (ICPA)
    Chengdu, P.R. China
    May 14-16, 2021
    Although public sector organizations may draw strength from their bureaucratic structures, experience increasingly shows the limitations of a hierarchical and top-down approach to the performance of governmental functions. Problems may spill across organizational boundaries so that a hierarchical approach within a single organization may be inadequate to address them. A top-down approach also may deprive decision makers of needed external input about how to fit solutions to the problems they seek to address. And, increasingly in today's world of public access to social media, top-down approaches may lack the legitimacy needed to ensure popular acceptance of governmental decisions.

    Collaborative governance can help overcome these and other limitations of a hierarchical structure by adding the benefits of a network management approach to help improve the quality of decision making. The literature defining the precise meaning of the term "collaborative governance" is unsettled. On one end of the conceptual spectrum, collaboration merely means the pursuit of joint goals by two or more government organizations. Governance would be the structure and function of making joint decisions to achieve objectives that further the aims of each organization. A more expansive definition is that collaborative governance is a process where government decisionmakers bring relevant stakeholders—public, private and NGO—into the decisionmaking process. In all cases, collaborative governance takes place under applicable laws and other rules and is shaped by them.

    2021 ICPA invites papers from academics and practitioners that highlight successful collaborative governance approaches to improving public sector decisionmaking and performance, and lessons learned. We especially welcome those that use case studies and comparative analyses to illustrate promising practices and significant lessons. Perhaps most important, papers are invited that derive lessons, not merely describe theory or isolated experiences. For the purpose of this Call for Papers, we will accept quality submissions that fall within the range of suitable definitions of "collaborative governance." Given the potential ambiguity of the term, it will be helpful to specify the definition of the term that a submitted paper adopts.

    Paper abstracts are due December 15, 2020.

  • NISPAcee Annual Conference 2021
    Ljubljana, Slovenia
    May 20-22, 2021
    Theme: "Citizens' Engagement and Empowerment—The Era of Collaborative Innovation in Governance"
    The Call for Proposals is open through November 30, 2020; registration will open in December.

  • 2021 PA Theory Annual Conference
    Portland, Oregon
    June 3-6
    Theme: "Administrative (Dys)function and Dedication: Contradictions in Public Service Values"
    The Call for Proposals is open through December 1, 2020

Calls for proposals, nominations and announcements:
  • SPAR Best Book Award Call for Nominations
    The Section on Public Administration Research (SPAR) has issued its Call for Nominations for its annual Best Book Award. The Section welcomes nominations for books on public administration published in 2019 and 2020. The criterion for the award is a book that significantly contributes to research in public administration. All research methods are welcomed, as are books across the wide range of public administration research. Edited volumes are welcomed. Books primarily written as textbooks will not be considered. We welcome international publications written in English. Recognition will be awarded at the ASPA 2021 Annual Conference next spring; the deadline for nominations is December 15, 2020.
    Find the Call for Nominations online here.

  • Call for Papers: "The State of Black America"
    Sponsored by the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), this think tank is producing a report exploring the latest scholarship into the character, shape and tendencies of life in the United States for Black Americans. The report will be truly comprehensive in scope, covering economics, history, culture, legal contexts, education, health care, religion and political efficacy. It will highlight the interaction between public policies and community development, and it welcomes research at the micro and macro levels of analysis, quantitative and qualitative. The target audience is scholars, as well as policymakers and practitioners, including clergy leaders on the front lines of Black communities. All proposals are due by December 20, 2020.
    Find the Call for Papers online here.

  • Journal of Emergency Management Special Issue: Analysis of Pre- and Post-Disaster Response and Recovery Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
    The Journal of Emergency Management (JEM) Editorial Review Board invites the submission of original research papers, brief communications, case studies, etc. supporting a special issue: “Analysis of Pre and Post Disaster Response and Recovery due to the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic.” As we transcend this global pandemic, the goal is to bring together a complete and comprehensive accounting of the event and its post mortem. This may include a pre-disaster assessment of the state of preparation as well as any post-disaster response, preparedness, mitigation and recovery. We expect this to be a comprehensive look at what went wrong and just as important, what went right. Manuscripts will be accepted for review immediately and will continue (tentatively) through the first quarter of 2021.
    Find the Call for Proposals online here.

  • SICA Gould Scholarship Call for Nominations
    SICA is now accepting nominations for its 2021 David Gould Scholarship, providing one or two students with a stipend to defray registration costs for ASPA's 2021 Annual Conference. To nominate a graduate student, send a letter of nomination by a faculty member and the student's CV to Kim Moloney, SICA Chair. The deadline for sending nominations is February 12, 2021.

Back to Top



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!)

Back to Top


American Society for Public Administration
1730 Rhode Island Ave., NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036

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