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So Diligent!

So Diligent!

True, not much activity here as of late, but we’ve been busy writing! Here are two recent papers on appointees:

Dull, Matthew and Patrick S. Roberts, 2009. “Continuity, Competence, and the Succession of Senate-Confirmed Agency Appointees, 1989-2009,” Presidential Studies Quarterly. 39:3 (September): 432-453.

Dull, Matthew M., Roberts, Patrick, Choi, Sang Ok and Keeney, Michael. 2009. “Appointee Confirmation and Tenure: Politics, Policy, and Professionalism in Federal Agency Leadership, 1989-2009”. APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN:


Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins

The Frances Perkins Center is hosting several upcoming events celebrating our first female cabinet member and still the longest-serving Secretary of Labor. The first is this Tuesday (4/21) at 4:00 PM at the Department of Labor’s Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Ave. The recent Perkins biography by Kirstin Downey is discussed here.

Dec 1941. Photo: John Collier, Farm Security Administration.
The description says these are workers for the foreign liaison bureau of the office of lend-lease administration working temporarily in a converted Washington, DC apartment building.

Initial Cabinet - Home State - Presidents Eisenhower to G.W.Bush

Home States of Initial Cabinet Members, Presidents Eisenhower to G.W.Bush

In an earlier post, I mentioned that the web page publicizing veteran observer Stephen Hess’s book What Do We Do Now? A Workbook for the President-Elect (Brookings, 2008) includes a table describing the composition of the original cabinets from Eisenhower through G.W.Bush. (Aside: Hess discusses the transition during this informative interview on the Dianne Rehm Show.)

Anyway, using Hess’s data, the tag cloud above represents the home states from the list totaling 98 cabinet members from 8 presidential transitions (Johnson and Ford are excluded because they did not go through a formal transition). I created the tag cloud using Read the rest of this entry »

Dead Letter Office, U.S. Post Office, March 25, 1925. Source:

Writing in the Washington Post (11/19/08), Paul Light is succinct as always offering the following three step prescription for restoring the federal service: Read the rest of this entry »

The controversy over the appointment of interim U.S. Attorneys in the Department of Justice (DOJ) became a symbol of the Bush administration politicizing administration. This fall we’ve made a fairly careful study of appointees in DOJ, work which we’ll share when it’s (finally) ready to go. For now, there’s a wealth of coverage – particularly following news that Eric H. Holder is likely to be President-elect Obama’s nominee for Attorney General. Many DOJ attorneys, however, feel relatively insulated from (and uninterested in) administration politics. Describing Bush administration politicization Washington Post reporter Carrie Johnson, “Obama Team Faces Major Task in Justice Dept. Overhaul”(11/13/08) verged on hyperbole:

Read the rest of this entry »

Grace Eddy

Washington, 1925. "Miss Grace M. Eddy, first woman examiner for the Interstate Commerce Commission." Source: