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The Public Manager Magazine Article

Transparency and Trust: Are They Synonymous in the Federal Government?

The Public Manager Editor Paula Ketter discusses a running thread through the December 2015 issue: government transparency. Other articles offer best practices on how to manage and communicate with employees, create innovation, manage expectations, and examine performance data. 

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Thu Dec 10 2015

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This issue of The Public Manager highlights transparency in government. It examines the effectiveness of six agencies to provide and ensure quality performance information, but as Ryann K. Ellis asks in her feature article, "Government transparency aims to increase accountability and public trust, but is it working?"

That is the $64,000 question. When the Obama administration launched the Open Government Initiative in 2009, the goal was to establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. The expectation was that transparency would promote responsiveness and accountability of public officials.

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Although many agencies are releasing data to the public, is it valuable information that can be used to measure progress on agency priority goals? The cover story provides critical insight, showing that agencies have a long way to go to meet their transparency initiatives.

Meanwhile, in the On the Horizon article, author Stephanie Castellano examines another key trend affecting the federal government: hiring and retaining veterans in the federal workforce. Agencies apparently are doing a good job recruiting veterans, but they are failing to keep them. In fact, during the 2014 fiscal year, veterans made up nearly half of all full-time hires in the federal government; one in three federal employees is now a veteran. Sadly, recent data from the Office of Personnel Management found that only three agencies retained more veterans than nonveterans.

The question is "Why?" There is no easy answer, but Castellano's article sheds light on some of the key reasons veterans leave federal posts within two years. "The push to hire veterans is quite admirable," says Andrew Schwartz, program manager for Virginia Values Veterans. "But without understanding exactly what you're getting when you hire a veteran, there's the potential for their skills or character traits to get lost in translation."

Other articles offer best practices on how to manage and communicate with employees, create innovation, manage expectations, and examine performance data. Take some time to check out this issue, and let me know what you think.

Paula Ketter

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Editor, The Public Manager

[email protected]

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