Transition going smoothly, so far

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor

The White House brought in five good government groups to Dec. 4’s Transition Coordinating Council meeting to listen and learn about how the effort is going.

Jonathan Breul, executive director of IBM’s Center for the Business of Government, says the groups offered insight into some of the issues being discussed, but also it was a way of providing transparency to the transition process.

Joining Breul at the meeting was Martha Kumar, director of the White House Transition Project, Patricia McGinnis, president and CEO of the Council for Excellence in Government, Max Steir, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, and Jennifer Dorn, president and CEO of the National Academy for Public Administration.


“Most of us have done research reports on one dimension or another of government and running these sorts of things,” Breul says.

“In addition we all are interacting with various departments and agencies, and seeing the affects on ground. We are a feedback mechanism to validate or challenge some of the views expressed at the meeting.”

Breul says the council meeting included most agency representatives and people from the Obama transition team.

He says they were “indicating how things were going in terms of various steps that were underway.”

Breul says based on this meeting and other work IBM has done, the transition is moving along more smoothly than any other transition in the last 50 years.

“The first piece is the Bush administration needs to be congratulated for laying the ground work for what’s really a comprehensive and aggressive effort to make this work as smoothly and effectively as possible,” he says.

“The Obama transition seems to be moving forward in a far more organized and methodologically than before. The teams they have out there say they’ve benefited from commitment the Bush White House made to cooperate as fully as possible.”

Breul adds that the Obama transition effort’s good start comes from their planning.

“The easiest way to understand this is they are operating in a particularly well organized and professional way,” he says.

“They’ve got teams organized and working cooperatively with Bush administration.”

He says they have a lot of experienced people working on the transition team.

“They realize starting on day one there is no real room to learn how to run this government on training wheels,” Breul says.

On the Web:

White House – Transition Coordinating Council fact sheet

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