SEA Releases New Handbook for Political Appointees

As we prepare for the American tradition of a peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next, new leadership is being selected for appointment by the President-elect.

To aid incoming political appointees, the Senior Executives Association’s (SEA) Professional Development League (PDL) has designed a new handbook that specifically addresses the needs and challenges new political appointees face. 

A Handbook for Political Appointees: How to Effectively Engage Career Executives to Enable Success is designed to help streamline the process of integrating political appointees into the career Federal workforce. By helping appointees understand the role of career Federal executives, the personnel rules that apply to them, and how best to engage and utilize their talents, the Handbook serves as a guide to smoothly and swiftly incorporate new political leadership into the federal government.

“Political appointees come from varied backgrounds, and are immediately inundated with briefing books, policy objectives, and extensive information about their Agency,” said Bill Valdez, President of SEA. “Our goal with this handbook is to give them the tools they need to hit the ground running and to succeed in their new roles.”

The Handbook includes an outline of the Senior Executive Service (SES) personnel system, as well as a breakdown of the pay and performance system under which the SES operates. It also offers insight into the career executive’s perspective and recommendations to ensure career executives effectively support the new leadership’s goals.

“It is crucial for any new Administration to maximize the use of the career SES corps to achieve swift and successful implementation of its critical initiatives,” said Valdez. “Conversely, career executives must also strive to forge constructive relationships with new appointees through cooperation and support. When both parties value and understand the other’s role, both the agency and the work they are doing there on behalf of the American public thrive.”

“As the US government again prepares for the awesome and complex task of transitioning from one administration to another, the advice of experienced hands and seasoned minds is essential,” said Thomas W. Ross, President of the Volcker Alliance. “I am pleased to see that the award-winning members of the DEAN’s List are working with the Senior Executives Association to proactively offer suggestions and help make the transition a success.”

Similar to The Handbook on Presidential Transition for Federal Career Executives, this handbook was designed with the support of the Distinguished Executives Advisory Network (DEAN’s List). DEAN’s List is a group created with help from the Volcker Alliance, and is made up of Senior Executive Service (SES) and Senior Professional (SP) members who have received the Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive or Distinguished Senior Professional.

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The Senior Executives Association (SEA) is a professional association representing Senior Executive Service members and other career federal executives. Founded in 1980, SEA’s goals are: to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and productivity of the federal government; to advance the professionalism and advocate the interests of career federal executives; and to enhance public recognition of their contributions. The SEA Professional Development League (PDL) is a nonprofit educational organization committed to advancing the professionalism of career federal executives through the sponsorship of training, recognition, and research activities.