Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Connected Government
- Consolidating Mission-critical Systems
- Constituent Servicing
- The Data Privacy Imperative: Safeguarding Sensitive Data
- Eliminating the Pitfalls: Steps to Virtualization in Government
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- Government Cloud Brokerage: Who, What, When, Where, Why?
- Government Mobility
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Mobile Device Management
- The Modern Federal Threat Landscape
- Moving to the Cloud. What's the best approach for me
- Navigating Tough Choices in Government Cloud Computing
- Satellite Communications: Acquiring SATCOM in Tight Times
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- Understanding the Intersection of Customer Service and Security in the Cloud
Shows & Panels
Political appointees impressed with civil service, author says
Monday - 4/30/2012, 11:48am EDT
Paul Lawrence, a principal at Ernst and Young, interviewed two dozen political appointees in the Obama administration over the course of a year and a half. The result is a new book: "Paths to Making a Difference: Leading in Government."
"One of the things we've learned from talking to political appointees is, in the past, how they tended to forgot the tools and techniques they used while they were solving some of the problems," he said. "So, we wanted to get in and talk to them while they were solving problems and find out their approaches and share it with others."
Paul Lawrence, principal, Ernst and Young
"First, they learned that all jobs are not the same," Lawrence said. "That some people are cut out for certain jobs and others were not. So, one of the tricks was to find the right job. The other was their experience really did matter, to the extent that they could rely on relative experience, they were more effective. And the other was just how hard it was to be a political appointee."
In addition, he discovered that across the board all of the political appointees were impressed with the high caliber of the civil servants they dealt with.
"As a result, they were becoming more and more dependent on the career civil service and liking that," Lawrence said. "Civil service, in turn, understands what they need to do and works with them. Probably the big challenge now as we come into an election year is keeping that momentum going, and if the political appointees become distracted, the careerists need to continue pushing the path forward for the agency."
Another thing that Lawrence discovered was that the Obama appointees have stayed longer, on average, in their positions compared to previous administrations, bucking the "out in two" tradition.
"Most of the folks who we interviewed are still there and continuing, and I suspect that they'd like to stay on if that's possible," Lawrence said. "They were very interested in the issues and they felt, now was the time and this was the chance for them really make a difference."