Policy Briefs

Welcome to the Gray Center’s Policy Brief Series, a collection of short articles on timely topics related to the administrative state. The Gray Center is an open forum for vibrant debate, so the Center takes no institutional positions on the issues discussed in the papers that it publishes or the conferences that it organizes. All views expressed in Policy Briefs and other materials reflect only the views of the authors.


March 10, 2021

Quick Actions to Improve Recruitment, Hiring, and Accountability in the Federal Workforce
Jeffrey Salmon, Visiting Assistant Professor of Government, Claremont McKenna College

Executive Summary: Over the last many years, prestigious commissions have concluded that the Federal civil service needs fundamental reform. However, their proposals confront massive barriers—union obstinance and a requirement for legislative, executive, or judicial branch concurrence. But reform need not pause until these barriers are overcome. This essay explores the potential benefits of a far more aggressive use of term appointments, Schedule A hiring authority, and enhancing agency control over its executive core by empowering Executive Resources Boards. Each measure is within federal agencies’ prerogative, no asking mother-may-I, and if implemented aggressively, can have a positive impact on the federal workforce.

August 19, 2020

Takeaways from the Conference on the Future of White House Regulatory Oversight and Cost-Benefit Analysis
Richard J. Pierce, Jr., Lyle T. Alverson Professor of Law, the George Washington University Law School

Executive Summary: On September 13, 2019, the C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State hosted a conference on the future of White House regulatory oversight and cost-benefit analysis (CBA). This essay is my attempt to summarize the main issues that were discussed at the conference and my views on each of those issues. I divide the issues into three categories: reasons for celebration, reasons for concern and serious questions that need to be addressed.

August 12, 2020

Civil Service: Pulling In or Pushing Away
Sally Katzen, Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at NYU School of Law, and Senior Distinguished Fellow at the C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State

Executive Summary: Tension between political appointees and career civil servants is not a new phenomenon, but it is more fraught now, with unfortunate adverse consequences for the people involved and for our country. Bureaucrat bashing or ignoring those with expertise and experience is destructive to our government; far better to listen to what they have to contribute and then make your own decision. Otherwise, the public will suffer.