Apolitical Civil Servants Already Paving the Way For Possible Transition of Power

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As we await the final votes and final calls to determine the outcome of the election, some might be surprised to learn that a transfer of power has already begun – months ago, in fact.

The presidential transition began in March. It’s overseen by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and run by civil servants, not political appointees.

In the spring, every federal agency had to choose a liaison for transition – a civil servant in the agency who’d help ready the next administration. In September, each of those liaisons and agencies had to have a briefing book ready to hand over.

A few weeks ago the GSA took charge of a big office space at 1401 Constitution Avenue, which is actually inside the U.S. Department of Commerce building.

The space, which is operated by the GSA and the U.S. Secret Service, was scheduled to open Wednesday in order to provide badges, desks, copiers and some outdoor parking spaces nearby for a transition team.

This process is all undertaken by apolitical career workers.

“It’s the largest most complex important takeover of an org on our planet," says Max Stier of the Partnership for Public Service. 

"You have to do it in a very short period of time. So it’s a complex operation that has to begin before the election – if someone is to have any hope of being ready by the time of the inauguration," Stier says.

Congress approved about $10 million to pay for the transition earlier this year.

The GSA will be accepting resumes from people who’d want to work in a new administration, which they would then hand over to the White House on Inauguration Day.

They’ve also now chosen the 300 block of D Street Southwest as their official office space for a would-be inauguration committee. 

Reported by Scott MacFarlane, produced by Rick Yarborough, and shot and edited by Jeff Piper.

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