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IAC Appointments, SESers and Political Reality

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By Alan Balutis March 18, 2008

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In my industry/government conference wanderings, I stopped by Orlando this month for the annual IPIC conference. This is usually a "must attend" event in government and industry circles and has been around so long that few can recall what "IPIC" stands for. (Here's a hint: The first two letters stand for "Information Processing.")

So what was a hot topic for the government folks in attendance? Well, no surprise, it is the upcoming transition. For political appointees, it's all about their life after government, with only a little over 300 days left in office. For the careerists -- many of whom have never been through one before -- there was some apprehension about what will face them.

In the midst of that uncertainty comes a request from the Industry Advisory Council (IAC) leadership to several career government leaders to co-chair IAC's Transition Report effort. What is the drawback to such an invite? The industry co-chair is Mark Forman, now at KPMG and the first e-government czar at the Office of Management and Budget. Mark is a wonderful person -- bright, hard working, considerate. I think very highly of him. But how exactly would a career SESer (Senior Executive Service) explain his or her pairing with a representative of the previous administration to his or her new political boss? Even Sen. John McCain campaign officials are thinking hard about how and where to use President Bush in the upcoming election campaign. It seems that "fundraising" and "securing the conservative base" are the main tasks at present.

But let's keep a watchful eye on what careerist lands this plum assignment from IAC. I will organize the pool on where that person lands -- after the first 120 days under a new political regime (that being the so called "cooling off" period when an SESer cannot be moved). I hope there are openings at Unisys or InterImage.

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