When one lives in Washington, D.C., unique opportunities may occasionally come along. Such was the case in 1992 when I was invited to be a member of the transition team at the Department of Education for the incoming Clinton Administration. This was an ideal opportunity for me, having worked on various education issues with both President Bush and Gov. Clinton.
I learned how important and necessary the orderly passing of power is. The process is defined by the Presidential Transition Act of 1963. Each department has a team of experienced people assigned to facilitate the change of administrations. Some of the items our team addressed included: Setting goals, staffing needs, budget, turning campaign promises into policy, and collaboration with other departments.
While the work was difficult and sometimes chaotic, we all understood that it was important and necessary and would result in an orderly and peaceful transition of power. The incoming secretary of education, Dick Riley, former governor of South Carolina, was able to hit the ground running as a result of the transition team’s work.
It is difficult to imagine the national and international problems that can result from a thoughtless, poorly planned transition. The process is ready to begin. Time is a-wasting, and there is much to be done.