In the midst of an exciting election year, our thoughts are focused on the campaign for the presidency. But as soon as the election is over, the new president will face a monumental challenge: to recruit an administration ready to do the work mandated by the public, and to do so in a timely fashion.
Regrettably, experience shows that it may take until November 2001 before all of the senior members of the administration are vetted and confirmed. And for many of the 5,000-plus presidential nominees, the appointments process will drag on so long that some will simply withdraw in frustration.
Faced with an obstacle course of burdensome and duplicative paperwork, significant legal and accounting expenses, intrusive investigations and disclosure requirements, and an ever-lengthening Senate confirmation process, individuals increasingly choose not to accept their president’s call to government service.
By any measure, we have reached a crisis in the presidential appointments process, which is why the Brookings Institution has launched the Presidential
Appointee Initiative. Funded by a grant from the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts, the initiative seeks to restore reason, respect, and efficiency to the presidential appointments process.
A panel of distinguished guests assembled in Washington on April 28 to launch the initiative and to discuss the findings of its new survey of 435 senior-level appointees from the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations.
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