Senior Executives Association

Welcome to the Senior Executives Association

Senior Executives Association (SEA) is the professional association for career members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and equivalent positions. SEA is not only the voice of the SES through a strong advocacy program, it empowers senior leaders across government by providing the tools, resources and connections they need to succeed in the 21st century.

SEA's membership spans across government agencies, missions and functions, giving SEA a unique whole of government perspective and the ability to connect to the skills, tools and people (both public and private sectors) that senior leaders need. SEA members receive access to research and news, strategic networks, and connections to the good practices across government that they may not receive on the job.

Above all else, SEA is guided by dedication to public service and to helping career federal leaders better serve the American people.


SEA - Empowering Career Leaders For Success

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Independence Day Reflections on Public Service

As our nation celebrates its 242nd birthday this month, I think it is a good time to remember what the Founding Fathers had in mind when it comes to public service.

The great raging debates in 1787-88 that culminated in the creation of the Constitution were encapsulated in a series of “Federalist Papers” published by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay.   The main topics surrounding the administration of the fledgling government were how to limit the power of the president by creating a system of checks and balances between the three branches of government, and how to create a government that was focused on the “public good” and not the oppression of the governed.

As our nation celebrates its 242nd birthday this month, I think it is a good time to remember what the Founding Fathers had in mind when it comes to public service.

The great raging debates in 1787-88 that culminated in the creation of the Constitution were encapsulated in a series of “Federalist Papers” published by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay.   The main topics surrounding the administration of the fledgling government were how to limit the power of the president by creating a system of checks and balances between the three branches of government, and how to create a government that was focused on the “public good” and not the oppression of the governed.

In Federalist #1, this was characterized in the following way:

“[T] the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government.”

This notion of a vigorous government with a “zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government,” was further cemented into the notion of public service through the 1883 Pendleton Act, which established the modern civil service. The Pendleton Act was a reaction to the assassination of President Garfield by a disgruntled office seeker and also the perception that government workers were more interested in the “spoils system” than “the firmness and efficiency of government.”

The 1978 Civil Service Reform Act reaffirmed that Founding Fathers’ ideals and cemented the 9 Merit Principles into law that called for a non-partisan, effective and efficient civil service dedicated to the public good. And, of course, the 1978 CSRA created the career Senior Executive Service as the non-partisan leadership corps that would work with Administrations to ensure that the public good is always front and center when administering the government.

Today, SEA believes that those foundational principles for Federal public service remain the bedrock of the modern civil service, but they could use updating.  That is why we are engaging with a broad spectrum of non-governmental entities in a series “Modernizing the Civil Service Dialogues” and why we believe that we must re-examine what it means to be a leader in the Federal government.

SEA is launching a “Public Service Leadership as a Profession” initiative that we believe will help lead to the development of 21st Century leaders who are prepared to carry on the ideals of the Founding Fathers while responding to the complex and disruptive changes our Nation is facing on a daily basis.

As always, if you would like to be a part of this effort, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at Bill.Valdez@SeniorExecs.org.

Tags: Message from Your SEA President, Bill Valdez

Our Corporate Advisory Council

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Special thanks to SEA's Corporate Advisory Council, helping to support a federal career executive corps of excellence.
Looking for SEA's partners? Check out the organizations we partner with.

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The Senior Executives Association is
available eight hours a day during normal business hours.

Monday-Friday: 9am to 5pm 
Weekend: Closed

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