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G. Calvin Mackenzie, the Goldfarb Family Professor of Government at
Colby College, has been elected a Fellow of the National Academy of
Public Administration. He will be inducted at the Academy’s fall
meeting in Washington, D.C., on November 21.

An independent, nonpartisan organization chartered by Congress, the
National Academy of Public Administration is the nation’s preeminent
organization dedicated to improving the performance of governance
systems–the network of public institutions, nonprofit organizations,
and private companies that share in the implementation of public
policy. The academy also promotes discourse on emerging trends in
governance through its Standing Panels.

Academy Fellows are drawn from the ranks of the nation’s leading
members of Congress, governors and mayors, cabinet secretaries and
agency heads, journalists and scholars. Their election as fellows is
recognition of careers of significant contribution to the practice and
study of government.

Whenever called upon by Congress, or the Federal Government, the
National Academy of Public Administration investigates, examines,
experiments, and reports upon any subject of government, the actual
expense of such investigations, examinations, and reports to be paid by
the Federal Government from appropriations available for such purpose.

The objects and purposes for which the Academy is organized include:

  • evaluating the
    structure, administration, operation, and program
    performance of Federal and other governments and government agencies,
    anticipating, identifying, and analyzing significant problems and
    suggesting timely corrective action;
  • foreseeing and examining critical emerging issues in
    governance, formulating practical approaches to their resolution;
    assessing the effectiveness, structure, administration, and
    implications for governance of present or proposed public programs,
    policies, and processes, recommending specific changes; advising on the
    relationship of Federal, State, Regional, and local governments;
  • increasing public officials’, citizens’, and scholars’
    understanding of requirements and opportunities for sound governance
    and how these can be effectively met; and
  • demonstrating by the conduct of its affairs a commitment to the highest professional standards of ethics and scholarship.

    Nominating Information on the Scholarship and Public Service of Prof. G. Calvin Mackenzie

    In the 1970s Mackenzie worked on the internal organization and
    operation of both houses of Congress. As a consultant to the Committee
    on the Operation of the Senate (Stevenson Committee), he wrote several
    papers analyzing Senate operations and served on a small group of
    scholars that advised the committee.

    Mackenzie was a full-time staff member with the title Senior
    Research Analyst for the House Commission on Administrative Review
    (Obey Commission) that undertook a comprehensive review of the
    administration and management of the House after the Wayne Hays scandal
    of 1976. The report of the Commission, much of which he drafted, became
    a blueprint for administrative changes implemented over the following
    several years. These included especially the creation of the office of
    House Administrator to concentrate authority in a single set of hands
    for the management of House operations. This assignment also provided
    Mackenzie’s first exposure to government ethics issues since part of
    the Obey Commission task was to develop a new ethics code for the
    House. That, too, was implemented over the years that followed.

    When the work in the House was completed at the end of 1977, Mackenzie and Joseph Cooper edited a book, The House at Work (University of Texas Press, 1981) that explored many of the special problems of public administration in a legislative context.

    Over the next 25 years, Mackenzie has been invited back to Congress
    on a number of occasions to testify on issues of public administration,
    public personnel management, and government ethics.

    Presidential Appointments
    Mackenzie’s doctoral dissertation at Harvard was on the topic of the
    nomination and confirmation of presidential appointees. In the years
    since its submission in 1975, Mackenzie has contributed more to public
    understanding of the appointments process than any other American. His
    books on this topic have described that process in detail and focused
    sharp attention on its flaws and on options for change. A strong
    believer that talented people are the critical ingredient in any scheme
    of public administration, Mackenzie has consistently argued that the
    inadequacies of the appointment process impose a high cost on the
    capacity of presidents and their administrations to manage the federal
    government effectively. His first book on the topic, The Politics of Presidential Appointments (Free Press, 1980) remains the classic study of the appointments process.  Subsequent books–America’s Unelected Government (Harper and Row, 1983); The In and Outers (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), Obstacle Course (Twentieth Century Fund Press, 1996), and Innocent Until Nominated
    (Brookings, 2001)–have tracked the evolution of the appointment
    process over the decades and brought it under ever closer and more
    revealing scrutiny.

    In addition to his scholarly work on presidential appointments,
    Mackenzie has been at the center of most practical efforts to reform
    the process. In 1980, he participated in a NAPA study of presidential
    transitions; his contributions concentrated on the special difficulties
    of managing the appointment process during a transition. Starting in
    1983 and for most of the rest of the decade, Mackenzie directed NAPA’s
    Presidential Appointee Project, the most comprehensive analysis up to
    that time of the appointments process. He was the primary author of the
    NAPA panel’s report, Leadership in Jeopardy: The Fraying of the Presidential Appointment Process (1985) and he wrote the Presidential Appointee’s Handbook and the Handbook for the Senior Executive Service to help new appointees navigate through the complexities of public service.

    In 1996, Mackenzie served as Executive Director of the Twentieth
    Century Fund’s Task Force on Presidential Appointments, the work of
    which concluded with more than a dozen recommendations for improvements
    in the appointment process. In 2000, after a year as the John Adams
    Fellow at the Institute for U.S. Studies at the University of London,
    Mackenzie joined the Brookings Presidential Appointee Initiative as
    Senior Advisor. He directed a number of PAI’s research projects and
    edited Innocent Until Nominated: The Breakdown of the Presidential Appointments Process
    (Brookings, 2001) which was selected by Choice as one of the
    outstanding academic books of 2002. Mackenzie also played a central
    role in developing the catalog of PAI recommendations for restructuring
    of the appointments process that were submitted to Congress in April

    Government Ethics
    Over the years, Mackenzie has emerged as one of the country’s leading
    students of government ethics. Virtually all of his work on
    presidential appointments has included analyses of the role that ethics
    regulations play in the recruitment and retention of non-career
    officials. He has been a consultant to public and private organizations
    on ethics questions including, for example, providing all-day ethics
    seminars for senior officials of the U.S. Treasury Department. In his
    home state, he was elected chair of the Maine Ethics Commission. His
    book Scandal Proof: Can Ethics Laws Make Government Ethical
    (Brookings, 2002) provoked a broad public debate on what Mackenzie
    regards as the excessive over-reach of many recent ethics regulations.
    David Broder of the Washington Post devoted an entire column to
    the book, praising it for “taking on the conventional wisdom and
    tearing it apart” and for “recommendations as bracing as its analysis.”
    In March, 2003, Mackenzie gave the plenary address at the 12th Annual
    Conference of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

    Other Activities
    Cal Mackenzie has been engaged in state and federal reorganization and
    reform activities throughout his professional life. In addition to the
    many examples cited above, he was Project Director for NAPA’s
    Re-Engaging Citizens in Governance Project in 1997 and 1998. Working
    with a panel chaired by Paul Volcker, Mackenzie directed a study of
    declining public trust in government, its causes and impacts, and
    options for enhanced civic engagement. In 2002-2003, he served as
    Senior Advisor to the National Commission on the Public Service and
    played an important role in the development of its recommendations and
    the draft of its report.

    In Maine, Mackenzie has advised the state government on a number of
    management issues. From 1993-1998, he was one of three alternating
    chairs of the state Board of Arbitration and Conciliation. In that role
    he chaired panels assigned to resolve difficult public sector
    labor-management conflicts all over the state.

    Throughout all these years, Mackenzie has been a full-time member of
    the political science faculty at Colby College where he has instructed
    thousands of students in public administration and public policy. At
    Colby, he was one of the youngest people ever promoted to the rank of
    full professor and to an endowed chair.

    Mackenzie’s lifetime of dedication to the study and practice of public
    administration fully qualifies him for election to the National
    Academy. His scholarly contributions in several fields have been
    path-breaking and provocative. He has gone well beyond scholarship to
    participation in many efforts to change the way federal and state
    governments are administered. He has participated with vigor and
    insight in national debates on the staffing of government, the proper
    character of ethical regulation of public employees, and numerous other
    issues. His experience, reputation, and scholarship indicate a
    commitment to the highest ethical standards.