Transition Into Office
Governors’ Office Organization & Operation
Governor’s Staff Operational Guides
Recruiting The Governor’s Team
Leadership & Management Of State Government
Transition Out Of Office
- Transitioning Out: An Overview of the Process
- Transitioning Out: Lessons and Advice from Former Governors
- Transitioning Out: Completing the Governor’s Agenda
- Transitioning Out: Helping the Incoming Administration
- Transitioning Out: Retaining Records and Documenting the Governor’s Legacy
- Transitioning Out: Preparing Your Staff and Yourself
Former veterans of the gubernatorial transition process have identified the six levers of power for the governor’s office: people, programs, processes, pulpit, preparedness, and partnership.
The time to be strategic, careful and forceful on appointments is at the beginning of the administration.
- • Develop an overall strategy to build the team: the governor-elect should determine personal preferences for receiving information and making decisions. Consider each position to be filled as it relates to the governor’s goals for that position or agency.
- • Recruit the team: establish a formal application process and good vetting processes (separate vetting from hiring) to select qualified candidates. Charge the recruiting and hiring teams to think strategically and build well-balanced agency teams to lead, manage and navigate.
- • Make appointments: focus on key appointments first then build out the team, announce appointments strategically and clarify expectations with appointees about tenure commitments and formal performance expectations.
A thoughtfully established set of processes will reduce conflict and increase the efficiency of the transition, and eventually lead to an efficient governor’s office.
At a minimum, the processes to address during the transition should include:
- • Office organization and operation: decide on a centralized or decentralized structure.
- • Strategic scheduling: establish goals and criteria to strategically maximize the governor’s time.
- • Decision making: establish processes and expectations to guide priorities and implement programs.
- • Informational processes: develop meeting and reporting requirements.
- • Personnel and appointments decisions: develop vetting criteria and a process to delegate authority for ongoing, routine appointments.
Once the administration is underway, you will not have time to develop processes so establishing these up front will set expectations that are easier to implement and maintain.
A governor’s success depends first and foremost on focus and a commitment to a limited number of priority issues.
- • Identify a limited number of priorities
- • Turn campaign promises into an action agenda
- • Establish a first 100 days agenda
- • Develop a four-year agenda
- • Develop the first budget
- • Consider the importance, power and thoughtful use of executive orders
The bully pulpit is one of the most important resources the governor can use to achieve his or her priorities and encompasses the entire messaging network available.
- • The rhythm of the governor’s office revolves around a natural cycle of grand pulpit opportunities for a governor: the state of the state address, the budget introduction address, the legislative adjournment message, and the year-end fiscal message.
- • Constantly refer to established themes from the pulpit at every available opportunity to ensure that the public and the legislature have a consistent view of what defines the governor and the administration.
- • Identify the administration’s goals and priorities early on and incorporate them into a communications strategy that is designed to reflect the governor’s style and natural talents.
- • Develop an effective communications function that is: linked closely with every other function in the governor’s office; establishes clear policies for media relations, clarifies communications staff roles and responsibilities; utilizes a wide number of platforms (websites, blogs and social media); and effectively utilizes surrogates for the governor (personnel, the cabinet and agencies).
- • Develop a legislative strategy that supports the governor’s priorities and determine how to handle the governor’s formal and informal ties with diverse groups outside the governor’s office.
- • Establish effective systems for constituent services, including routing mail and answering telephone calls and mail promptly. constituent mail becomes an early warning system of problem areas in the agencies or with the administration.
As chief executive, the governor is responsible for ensuring their state is adequately prepared for emergencies and disasters of all types and sizes from their first hour in office.
This responsibility is one of the most daunting because of the potentially disastrous consequences for missteps. Governors have considerable authority to organize and operate emergency preparedness functions according to their state’s needs and priorities.
Emergency Preparedness Getting Ready for Day One
- 1. Identify your leadership team: Homeland Security Advisor, Adjutant General and Emergency Manager
- 2. Know your emergency authorities: Governors’ powers under state and federal law
- 3. Know your emergency response plans: Mass evacuation, emergency shelter, radiological hazard, et. al
- 4. Know your budget authorities: Access to state and federal funds
- 5. Develop an emergency communications plan: What to do when nothing works; who needs to know what and how do you tell them
- 6. Understand how the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) works: Getting assistance from other states
- 7. Know your state’s risks and vulnerabilities: Critical infrastructure, population, geography
- 8. Understand the role of the National Guard: Using the military in emergencies
- 9. Train and exercise your emergency response plans: Practice is critical for an effective response
- 9. Ensure strong interagency relationships to promote preparedness: Comprehensive response goes beyond public safety agencies
- 10. Ensure key staff have security clearances: Governors’ staff need access to critical information
Partnership (Governor and Spouse)
An essential ingredient to a governor’s overall success is the governor and his or her spouse working together as a team to navigate the challenges and opportunities of governing.
- • During the transition from campaigning to governing, have frank discussions with your family about the new public life you are entering.
- • Define the role of the governor’s spouse: decide whether to accept a public profile and whether that includes being available to the media. If accepting a public profile, consider choosing initiatives that complement the governor’s agenda.
- • Establish a system for coordinating the governor’s and the spouse’s schedule, which can provide a framework for cooperation and communication between all staff. Holding joint scheduling staff meetings reinforces this team approach.
- • Keep perspective (keep family first) and find ways to stay grounded and maintain work-life balance.
- • This an experience like no other – enjoy and have fun. You will have opportunities to make a difference in the lives of people you may never have thought possible!