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

September 13, 2023

ASPANet.org | PA TIMES.org

Interested in placing an ad in The Bridge? Contact Mrvica Associates for more details!

Don’t Forget! 2024 Annual Conference Call for Proposals Extension Ends on September 15

ASPA's 2024 Annual Conference will take place April 12-16 in Minneapolis, focusing on "Building Resilient Communities." Due to numerous requests for more time, we have extended our Call for Proposals by one week; the deadline for all proposals now is September 15. Make sure you finish your proposal and submit it by midnight this Friday!

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!

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 15!

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

Remembering Joe Wholey

Joseph S. Wholey, Jr., died at the end of August 2023, at his home in Arlington, Virginia. He was 88.

An ASPA member since 1979, Joe left an indelible mark on the many, many ASPA members whom he taught, mentored and counted among his professional colleagues. He left a similarly indelible mark on our Society, thanks to his professional and personal commitment to excellence in performance management, measurement and accountability. He was instrumental in the work of our Center for Accountability and Performance, dating back to the 1990s. He served on numerous ASPA committees, including those responsible for conferences, events and performance management. Widely acclaimed for his robust scholarship, the Joseph Wholey Distinguished Scholarship Award, presented by the Center for Accountability and Performance, is named in his honor. He was an active member of several of ASPA’s Chapters and Sections throughout his career, most notably the Section on Public Performance Management, the Section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management and the Section on Public Administration Research, as well as the National Capital Area Chapter.

Born in Rhode Island, Wholey grew up there before attending college in Washington, DC, where he earned a BA from Catholic University, and graduate school in Boston, where he earned an MA and PhD from Harvard University. He met his future wife, Margaret (Midge) Smith, at Catholic University. She passed away earlier this year.

Wholey’s early post-academic professional life included work at the Institute for Defense Analyses, the Pentagon and the Urban Institute, where his keen, analytic mind turned toward improving both the efficiency and effectiveness of government.

Wholey served on the Arlington County Board for eight years in the 1970s—as chairman for three—practicing what he preached as an analyst and academic. He worked to make Arlington not just a good home for young families, but also a vital, vibrant part of the Washington metropolitan area. In 1979, he chaired the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, where he was “the man who held [it] together” during a time of financial uncertainty (The Washington Post).

Later in his career he became a consultant and then a professor on the faculty of the University of Southern California, were he enjoyed mentoring doctoral students. He served brief stints in the federal government as deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, senior advisor to the Office of Management and Budget and senior advisor to the General Accounting Office. He served as director of the Arlington Community Foundation and co-founded the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing and the Alliance for Housing Solutions.

Wholey was a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. He is senior author or editor of eight books, including Evaluation and Effective Public Management, Performance and Credibility, Improving Government Performance and the Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation.

Read the obituary online here.

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.

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.

KeepingCurrent: The Attack on Auditor Independence
October 5 | 1 p.m. EDT
Sponsored by ASPA's Center for Accountability and Performance

Mark Funkhouser, President, Funkhouser & Associates and Former Mayor and Auditor, Kansas City, Missouri
Richard Greene, Moderator, Chair, Center for Accountability and Performance and Principal, Barrett and Greene, Inc.
Jason Hadavi, Deputy City Auditor, Austin, Texas
Jennifer McGuirk, Auditor, Multnomah County, Oregon
Rob Sand, Iowa State Auditor

One of the most potent ways in which cities, counties and states can fight against the sad absence of trust in government is through the audit function and there has never been a time within memory when creating trust in government has been such a challenge. Yet, there is a perennial threat to their independence, which is the bedrock of the auditors’ standing in government and their ability to serve the residents of their entities. It is often a battle between political expedience and self-protectiveness and the auditors’ ability to do their jobs well and without interference. What is the story behind this unfortunate struggle? This panel, including auditors representing all three levels of local government, will bring attendees behind the scenes to get a better understanding of their need for independence and the difficulty some have in preserving it.

BookTalk: Democracy Erodes from the Top: Leaders, Citizens and the Challenge of Populism in Europe
October 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.

From the Archives
BookTalk: Women, Power and Rape Culture
Donald Trump's election precipitated one of the largest outpourings of political protest on a single day in U.S. history with the 2017 March for Women. The emboldened #MeToo and #TimesUp movements reacted not only to the historical injustice of sexual offenses perpetrated upon women, but women’s associated underrepresentation in positions of power and public authority. This book examines the principal events, actors and paradigms in the politics of rape, sexual assault and harassment since Trump’s election, connecting these traumatic events to women’s underrepresentation in the public sphere. Chapters consider the power of presidential speech, judges and Congress to create structural barriers to women’s representation as well as the stultifying effects of weak college and university responses to sexual violence. Disparities in women’s representation in positions of public authority are considered in light of the disproportionate burden imposed on women by a culture that discounts the prevalence of rape and harassment and by the policies that inadequately address them, allowing them to perpetuate. Listen in to this webinar any time! (Members Only)

Apply Now to Be Considered for the Founders' Fellows Program!

Calling all rising stars! ASPA's Founders' Fellows program is accepting applications now for its 2024 class!

Who: This program is for young public administrators, doctoral students and new researchers who are looking for a career jump start!

What: The Founders' Fellows program is ASPA's most competitive fellowship program of the year and provides those accepted with results that could last throughout your career. Think: Stellar exposure to public administration legends, highly promoted research at the 2024 Annual Conference and in PA Times Online, specially planned web-based professional development and more!

There are only 20 spots available so look at our application materials now and start thinking about how to create the best package you can that demonstrates why you (or a student you know) should be in the 2024 cohort.

When: All applications are due by October 13, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Click here to access the application form.

More Details: The Founders' Fellows program recognizes the exceptional accomplishments and future potential of the next generation of public servants—in the academic and/or practitioner communities. The 2024 class will demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and professional promise.

Fellows receive the following benefits:

  • Guaranteed acceptance to present their work as part of ASPA's 2024 Annual Conference, April 12-16 in Minneapolis, including complimentary registration and hotel room
  • A year-long mentorship with a senior mentor in the discipline, matched with each Fellow based on academic and professional interests
  • Tailored professional improvement webinars that address their specific educational and professional needs
Even MORE Details: Candidates must be ASPA members in good standing and submit a letter of recommendation from an ASPA member in good standing to qualify for the program. (Those accepted into the program are required to maintain ASPA membership for the entirety of the Fellowship year.)

A completed application will include:
  • Contact information and relevant biographical details
  • An outline of career and research interests
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • A personal statement
  • An analytical essay (details are provided within the application form)
  • A letter of recommendation from your nominator
Have questions? Visit our website for more details, click here to access the application or contact ASPA's Jordan Thomas.

Remember: All applications are due by October 13 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.


Fall Is the Perfect Time to Join ASPA!

The summer months are almost behind us and pumpkin spice season has begun—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 are 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.

Public Integrity Call for Proposals

In 1990, the federal government passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prevents discrimination against individuals with disabilities in public spaces; it would not be until well into the 2010s before many changes could be seen to take effect. Public administration as a field has been slow to write about and research disabilities through the years since the act's passage, a fact easily observed by reviewing many of the leading journals in public administration and professional conference offerings in recent years. This omission could be viewed as an ethical issue by virtue of not attending to a significant marginalized community. This Public Integrity symposium takes up the topic of disabilities by inviting authors to submit a proposal for consideration looking at issue areas including mental health awareness/physical disabilities and invisible disabilities. This symposium particularly is interested in authors who can speak to the ethics of intersectionality focusing on identities linked with a person’s disability(ies) such as race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, social class and more. Interested persons should email their 500-word proposal to Richard Greggory Johnson, III by November 1, 2023. All papers will be vetted via Public Integrity’s peer review process.

For Purchase: A Call to Serve

Put some motivation in your pocket this fall!

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 others, 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.

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!

How the Education Sector Can Safeguard Students Using Generative AI
Via Open Access Government - The internet, perhaps the last major technological innovation that’s comparable to AI, changed the way that students communicate, work and access information. But tools like ChatGPT appear to be doing much more than that. They’re changing the way students live, work and interact with technology every day. Just as with the internet, it’s difficult to predict now what this technology may lead to in a decade’s time. What is clear is students have been very quick to utilize these tools to support their school work.

Tips, Resources and the Fun Stuff

IRS Announces Two-Year Delay to TSP Catch-Up Contribution Changes
New rules requiring high-income 401(k) participants to make catch-up contributions only to Roth accounts will not take effect until 2026.

TSA Proposes Allowing Federal Acceptance of Digital IDs While Future Requirements Are Crafted
The coming rulemaking would waive REAL ID Act requirements so that federal agencies can still accept mobile driver's licenses when the law’s implementation starts in 2025.

Working and Retiring in Tandem Married feds have some unique issues to consider.

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

Meet Bethesda Magazine’s 2023 Women Who Inspire
Featuring Anne Khademian, executive director of the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) in Rockville, Maryland.

Nine Leadership Behaviors That Create Great Places to Work
By Bob Lavigna

The Three Duties of Public Servants
By Ron Sanders

How Improvements in Onboarding Can Lower Employee Turnover
By Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month; The Worst Thing You Can Do Is Nothing.
By Miriam Singer et al

Tell Me Something Good...

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

Philadelphia Gives Free Transit Passes to All City Workers
If you work for the city of Philadelphia, you can now ride the bus for free. As of September 1, Philadelphia became the biggest city in the country to offer free transit passes to all city workers. It's part of a two-year pilot program meant to help the city hire and retain new workers and to increase ridership on a transit system that still hasn’t recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.


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:
  • Journal of Policy History Call for Abstracts
    On behalf of the Center for American Studies at Arizona State University and Journal of Policy History, the journal invites proposals for research to be presented at a two-day conference titled “Policy History Studies: The State and Future of the Field.” The conference will include roughly 40 presentations by early-career scholars in history, public policy, political science and related disciplines. Participants will receive critical feedback from senior scholars and other participants. We invite early-career or pre-tenure scholars, including graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, to submit abstracts (up to 500 words) for inclusion in the conference program. Scholars may present research papers, chapters or book proposals. Abstracts may be submitted via this Google form by September 15, 2023. Contact James Strickland for more information.

  • 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 Administration Quarterly Call for Editors
    The Southern Public Administration Education Foundation (SPAEF) requests proposals from individuals and institutions interested in assuming the position of editor-in-chief for Public Administration Quarterly (PAQ). PAQ is a quarterly journal affiliated with ASPA's Section on Professional and Organizational Development (SPOD) and the Southeast Conference on Public Administration (SECoPA). In January 2024, PAQ officially will become a SAGE journal. PAQ is a generalist journal that publishes articles on a wide variety of topics from across public administration and related academic fields. Ideally, the editor-in-chief will have robust institutional support to perform the roles and responsibilities of the position. These roles and responsibilities include processing of manuscript submissions (approximately 100 annually); identification of reviewers and management of the review process; oversight of production for four issues per year; and an annual report to the PAQ editorial board and SPAEF. Send any questions to Alex Henderson; all applications are due October 20.

  • 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!)



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.