The 2004 PRUNE Book

Top Management Challenges for Presidential Appointees

John H. Trattner
Patricia McGinnis
Release Date: December 7, 2004

A Brookings Institution Press and the Council for Excellence in Government publication The 2004 Prune Book serves as a valuable resource for presidential appointees who manage the federal government on...

Inside Look:

The 2004 Prune Book serves as a valuable resource for presidential appointees who manage the federal government on a daily basis. Introduced in 1988, Prune Books describe the positions appointees hold and the challenges they face. The books are distinguished by essays that give firsthand insight into such complex realities as managing the federal government for results and the appointments process itself.

This 2004 edition offers fresh approaches to the management aspects of an appointed position. One chapter, for example, provides a tool kit designed for, and essential to, incoming senior federal appointees. It examines the management dimensions of their jobs, helping them manage for results and advising on what is required for survival and success as an appointee. Senior civil servants will also value the discussion of coordinating strategies and mechanisms that embody the current approach to federal government management. This overall approach is aimed at increasing the return on investment of taxpayer dollars.

This version of the Prune Book is specifically geared to help new senior political appointees grasp today’s coordinated, government-wide agenda for improving federal management. In addition, it will be instructive to anyone who is considering federal employment or is interested in finding out more about how government works.


John H.Trattner is a senior writer and editor at the Council for Excellence in Government and author of the previous six Prune Books. A retired career diplomat, State Department spokeman, Senate press secretary, and Navy officer, he was also a journalist in Europe and the United States. Patricia McGinnis is president and CEO of the Council for Excellence in Government. In government, she served in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, where she led the effort to create the Department of Education. She also help posts on the Senate Budget Committee and in the departments of Commerce and Health and Human Services.