Free Webinar: Distinguishing Lobbying, Advocacy & Education 

 December 7th, 2022, 1-2:00pm AZ Time

In this session we will be highlighting the difference between lobbying, advocacy and education, discussing what you’re allowed to do, and how to operate within both the letter and spirit of those guidelines. We are pleased to be joined by experts on the guidelines that govern lobbying and advocacy: the ChangeLab solutions team and Allen Mattison, partner at Trister Ross.

Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

This session will include live transcription (the automatic zoom capability), please email Rya (rya.griffis@apha.org) any accommodations or considerations we should take to make sure you can fully participate. 

Arizonans Make Decisions on Ballot Measures: An Analysis from a Public Health Perspective

Arizonans approved 7 ballot measures and rejected 3 others in the recent election. Fortunately, approved the Predatory Debt Collection Protection Act and the Stop Dark Money voter initiatives by a wide margin. Voters also wisely approved Proposition 308, which will now allow for in-state and in-county tuition for certain non-citizens at Arizona’s community colleges and universities.

Importantly, voters also wisely rejected Proposition 128, which would have given the legislature more authority to change previously approved voter initiatives with a simple majority vote if a part of the initiative is later found to be unconstitutional or illegal (I was most concerned about the ‘illegal’ portion of that language as it was super-nebulous). Voters also wisely rejected Proposition 309 which would have made mail in voting more difficult and complicated.

Sadly, voters approved Proposition 132. In future elections, any proposition or voter initiative that includes a tax will require a 60% majority to be approved. This will make it much more difficult to pass future voter initiatives that require a tax funding source for implementation. 

Similarly, voters approved Proposition 129, which will require all future voter initiatives to have a single subject. 129’s passage will (in my opinion) give opponents of future voter initiatives more ammunition to knock initiatives off the ballot before voters even get a chance to vote on them.

Voters rejected Proposition 310, which would have supplied badly needed funds to rural fire districts. Because Prop 132 passed, if an alternative to Prop 310 is proposed at a future date it will need a 60% majority vote to succeed.

Note: The voting trends for proposition 310 were interesting but not surprising. Urban, suburban, and tribal voters were generally willing to pay the 0.1% statewide sales tax to subsidize rural fire and EMS districts. Voters in rural Arizona voted No on 310 by a wide margin, sinking the proposition.

Proposition 132 passed requiring future propositions that include a tax pass with at least 60% of the vote. Prop 132 was successful in large part because of strong support in rural Arizona. As a result, EMS care in Arizona fire districts will likely continue to be substandard in perpetuity because passing a future proposition that includes any kind of tax is likely unachievable.

Rural Arizona voters missed perhaps their only opportunity to infuse funding from urban and suburban voters to subsidize their fire and EMS districts. It would also take a 60-40 vote to increase the property tax cap in rural fire districts, meaning improving EMS care in AZ will be next to impossible now.

Title

Description

Result

Yes Votes

No Votes

128 Allows the Legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot measures that contain provisions ruled unconstitutional or illegal by the Arizona or U.S. Supreme Court

F

859,675 (36%)

1,502,367 (64%)

129 Require citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject

P

1,311,046 (55%)

1,062,532 (45%)

130 Allow the Legislature to set certain property tax exemption amounts and qualifications P

1,478,582 (64%)

840,299 (36%)

131 Create the position of lieutenant governor to be elected on a joint ticket with the governor P

1,299,483 (55%)

1,056,433 (45%)

132 Require a 60% vote to pass ballot measures to approve taxes P

1,205,099 (51%)

1,176,326 (49%)

209 Limit interest rates for debt from healthcare services and increases the value of certain property and earnings exempt from debt collection

P

1,747,362 (72%)

679,089 (28%)

211 Require that anyone making independent expenditures of more than $50K on a statewide campaign or $25K on a local campaign to disclose the names of the money’s sources P

1,736,495 (72%)

664,111 (28%)

308 Allows in-state tuition for non-citizen residents that meet specific requirements P

1,250,319 (51%)

1,189,877 (49%)

309 Require date of birth and voter identification number for mail-in ballots and end two-document alternative to photo ID for in-person voting

F

1,201,181 (50%)

1,219,668 (50%)

310 Create a 0.1% sales tax for 20 years to fund fire districts

F

1,144,494 (48%)

1,230,042 (52%)

Community Health Worker Certification Portal Activated

Community Health Workers are frontline public health workers who are trusted members or have a deep understanding of the communities they serve. They use their understanding of the people and cultures across Arizona to improve health, address social issues that can result in better health outcomes, reduce costs of care, and make the local health system more responsive to the needs of each community.

Certification of Community Health Workers contributes to further professionalization and sustainability of the workforce and can help facilitate reimbursement of services they deliver.

It took several years to build the statutory and administrative pathway to facilitate certification of community health workers – and we’re finally there. ADHS published the final rules a few weeks ago and they opened the online certification application a couple weeks ago.

Arizona’s Community Health Workers now can apply for voluntary certification once they establish they meet the standards and have successfully completed an approved training program.

ADHS is using a federal grant to temporarily bring the certification fee down to $1, but that will end when the grant funding ends. Applications are fully electronic and available as of today at azhealth.gov/CHW.

Report: Building Community Health Workers into the Continuum of Care

How to Get Your CHW Training Program Certified

The Tumblers Click: Community Health Workers Entering Arizona’s Care Network at Scale

Governor Elect Hobbs Forms Diverse Transition Team: CV’s Being Reviewed for Leadership Posts

Last week Governor-elect Katie Hobbs named Allie Bones as her incoming Chief of Staff. Ms. Bones is a long-time public servant and has been the current assistant secretary of state under Secretary of State Hobbs since the latter took office in 2019.

Hobbs also named the co-leads and members of her formal transition team. Monica Villalobos, president and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Mike Haener, former deputy chief of staff to Governor Janet Napolitano to be the co-leads of her 30-member formal transition team.

Submit Your Resume to the Hobbs Administration Resume Bank to be Considered for a Leadership Post in the Administration

Members of the formal transition team are below: (Note: transition team members have many professional responsibilities; I include an abbreviated description here):

  • Mike Haener Co-lead (Willetta Partners, Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs – Gov. Napolitano)
  • Monica Villalobos Co-lead (President & CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce)
  • David Adame (President & CEO Chicanos por la Causa)
  • Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren (Member of the Arizona House of Representatives)
  • Ron Butler (Managing Partner of the Phoenix office of Ernst & Young)
  • Chris Camacho (President & CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council)
  • Chad Campbell (SVP at Strategies 360 Consulting, former House Minority Leader AZ State Legislature)
  • Coral Evans (former Flagstaff Mayor & Council Member)
  • Marlene Galan-Woods (former journalist, actor, producer)
  • Steve Gallardo (Maricopa County Board of Supervisors)
  • Marisol Garcia (President, Arizona Education Association)
  • John Giles (Mayor, City of Mesa)
  • John Graham (Chairman and CEO of Sunbelt Holdings)
  • Sharon Harper (President, CEO and co-founder of Plaza Companies)
  • Martin Harvier (President, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community)
  • Berdetta Hodge (Tempe Union High School District Governing Board/ Tempe Town Council)
  • Andy Kunasek (Maricopa County Supervisor)
  • Jen Longdon (Arizona House of Representatives)
  • Garrick McFadden (Founder, Owner Gamesq, PLC)
  • Jim McLaughlin (President at UFCW Local 99)
  • Peggy Neely (former Phoenix Vice Mayor, Managing Partner at Neely Public Strategies)
  • Jackie Norton (President and CEO of the Rodel Foundation)
  • Tonya Norwood-Pearson (Arizona Association of Conservation Districts Executive Director)
  • Danny Ortega (Owner of the Ortega Law Firm, P.C.)
  • Lynne Pancrazi (former Representative and Senator, Arizona State Legislature)
  • Stephanie Parra (Governing Board, Phoenix Union HSD)
  • Frank Piccoli (AFSCME AZ Local 2960 President and People Committee Chair)
  • Regina Romero (Mayor, City of Tucson)
  • Fabian Sandez (Special Representative, United Brotherhood of Carpenters/Joiners of America)
  • Alfred Urbina (Attorney General, Pascua Yaqui Tribe)
  • Mary Rose Wilcox (former Supervisor, Maricopa County; Valleywise Health Governing Board)
  • Bob Worsley (former Senator, Arizona State Legislature)

The 30 members of the transition team are broken into various working groups, as is customary for transition teams. The most relevant teams to our public health mission will be the Health and Human Services team (AHCCCS, ADES, ADHS, ADoH, and DCS).

One consideration when selecting a person for a transition team is usually related to the diversity of their connections and relationships to state government, local sectors, nonprofits, and other stakeholders. A diverse transition team with robust contacts allows them to talk with a host of folks who are not on the transition team to get input and ideas.

What Does a Transition Team Do?

Transition teams generally have operational goals: 1) Interviewing current administration officials; 2) Making personnel recommendations; and 3) Reviewing agency briefing materials & making recommendations about state government policies & operations.

One of the first things the transition team groups do is ask for the agency’s briefing materials. As they review the quality and content of the briefing documents, they ask themselves: Is this high-quality and professionally prepared? Are the materials objective or self-serving? Do they appear to be prepared at the last minute? How useful is the information?

The transition team groups usually schedule meetings or calls with a host of stakeholders who they trust as well as existing agency directors and their assistants. Transition team members also often talk to key stakeholder groups that work or are affected by agency decisions and operations.

Making Personnel & Policy Recommendations

Over the next month or so, the transition team will be making recommendations to Governor Elect Hobbs and Chief of Staff Bones about who they have found that would be good fits for leadership positions at the state agencies.

Submit Your CV for Consideration Via the Hobbs Administration Resume Bank

As the transition continues, agency staff – especially the 38 agency directors – will be paying close attention to the verbal and nonverbal cues they get from the emerging governor’s team. Agency directors can’t be fired by the incoming administration before the inauguration but can sometimes pick up subtle clues about whether they’re likely to be retained or not.

How Can State Agency Staff Prepare for their Meetings with the Gubernatorial Transition Team?

As the governor’s office personnel fall into place the transition team usually takes on less importance as the incoming governor will generally begin to also listen to and act on the recommendations of his or her new staff.

The transition team’s work is fast and furious in November and December but usually wraps up before the inauguration. Members of the budget/finance transition team may continue to work until the new governor sends her proposed budget to the legislature in mid-January.

In my experience, transitions don’t end at the inauguration. They go on for about 6 months. As the governor and her staff on the 8th and 9th floor learn more about the persons at the state agencies, they begin to solidify their opinions about where they want to make more policy or personnel changes.

It’s a 48 Day Sprint to Inauguration Day: Here’s What We Might Expect During the Transition

What Impact Will the Election Results Have on Arizona Public Health?

Open Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act Marketplace Goes Through January 15, 2023

Open enrollment has begun for the Health Insurance Marketplace! Spread the word and provide enrollment assistance: learn more. The 2023 Open Enrollment Period runs from November 1, 2022 to January 15, 2023.

Learn more about enrollment basics and FAQs at Healthcare.gov or find helpful state-by-state Medicaid and CHIP enrollment information at Medicaid.gov. Additionally, HHS recently renewed the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, which will continue through January 11, 2023.

What Impact Will the Election Results Have on Arizona Public Health?

In terms of state legislation – I expect more of the same from the state legislature. But the fact that we have Governor-elect Hobbs on the 9th floor means that we can spend less energy fighting bills that are bad for public health during the legislative session. During the Ducey years we knew we had to stop bills in one of the chambers because he was a sure rubber stamp bad bills. Over the next couple of years, we’ll have checks and balances in the system because of the executive branch which will require less defense.

The real progress in public health over the next couple years won’t be related to legislative action. It’ll be associated with executive branch action. Here’s why.

Governor Ducey had a cap on the number of employees state agencies could have (commonly referred to in state government as the head-count cap). This caused state agencies to decide not to apply for federal grants, because if they get the award, their agency director wouldn’t let them hire the persons necessary to manage the grant.

Governor Ducey also had a ‘moratorium’ on state agency rulemaking, meaning agencies were by and large stuck with the administrative code (regulations) that they have on the books. We hope to see Governor Hobbs lift that moratorium on administrative rulemaking – allowing agencies to modernize their Administrative Code to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities.

We also expect to see persons appointed to agencies that are more in sync with public health principles. Having an ADHS director that sees county health departments as true partners in public health will go a long way in improving the working relationship between state and county and tribal public health.

We also expect there will be far less micromanagement of ADHS…  meaning ADHS staff will feel freer to brainstorm and propose new ways to address health disparities without worrying what a 9th floor that is hostile to public health will think. This healthier environment will also make it easier to recruit talented agency leadership.

We expect the Hobbs Administration will have an easier time recruiting talented folks into state agency and commission leadership positions which will greatly improve the quality of decision-making and execution in state government.

In short…  I’m optimistic that we can make real strides in public health over the next 4 years – because of progress in the executive branch.

Checks & Balances Return to State Government for the First Time Since 2008

Governor-elect Katie Hobbs will be Arizona’s next governor. Her 4-year term will officially begin at Noon on Monday, January 2, 2023. Given her track record and background, we expect to have a public health ally in the governor’s office for the next 4 years.

Governor-elect Hobbs spent many years serving as a social worker and then in the state legislature – often serving on health committees. This is the first time that I can think of when we’ve had a governor that has worked – at the grassroots level – on improving the social determinants of health.

Meanwhile, the state legislature is likely to be less friendly to many of our public health priorities than the executive branch. Both legislative chambers will have the same margins as the last year—31-29 Republican majority in the Arizona House and 16-14 Republican majority in the Arizona Senate.

Both chambers also held internal leadership elections—new Senate President will be Warren Petersen, President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope, Majority Leader Sonny Borrelli, and Majority Whip Sine Kerr. The Senate Health Committee will be chaired by T.J. Shope.

In the House, the new Speaker will be Ben Toma, with Leo Biasiucci as the Majority Leader. Committee chairs in the House have not been announced (as far as I know). If you have questions about other elections—statewide, federal or legislative—check out the Secretary of State’s website.

P.S. I’ll do a summary of the results of the ballot measures and what the results might mean for public health next week.

How Can State Agency Staff Prepare for their Meetings with the Gubernatorial Transition Team?

Doing an Honest SWOT Analysis is a Good Place to Start

Governor-elect Katie Hobbs will likely be announcing details about her gubernatorial transition team shortly. Once the team is established, folks in key leadership positions at the state agencies should prepare in case members of the transition team ask for a meeting.

It’s a 48 Day Sprint to Inauguration Day: Here’s What We Might Expect During the Transition – AZ Public Health Association

How can a person in agency leadership prepare for a meeting with the transition team? Something that’s worked well for me is to develop a SWOT analysis of your area of responsibility and for the agency. Going through a SWOT analysis will give structure to your conversation with the transition team by identifying the internal and external factors that are helping or hurting your effectiveness.

What’s a SWOT analysis? It’s a strategic management technique that identifies agency Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are generally internal to your agency. Opportunities and threats are more external factors. Here’s a short description of each category.

  • Strengths: characteristics of your organization or division that are working well toward achieving the mission
  • Weaknesses: things that are impairing the ability of the organization to achieve its mission or to excel
  • Opportunities: things in the political or economic environment that the organization could exploit to improve their performance (e.g., things the current or previous administration or leadership was hostile toward that would help reduce health disparities for example)
  • Threats: elements in the environment that could derail agency performance in achieving their mission

Here are some helpful hints as you prepare a SWOT analysis:

  • Be honest and objective. This is not a feel-good analysis. It’s a tool to dispassionately look at your performance. Imagine that you’re looking at your agency from the outside rather than the inside. What have your stakeholders been telling you and others about their perception of your strengths and weaknesses. Include that information in your analysis.
  • If you have objective performance measures, be sure to include your performance on those metrics. If your current agency leadership has been ‘cooking the books’ to make those performance measures look better than they are, I would recommend that you disclose that information (if you have been told your conversation is confidential).
  • If your existing performance measures are weak, subjective, or designed to make your outgoing director or governor look good, make sure to note that in your analysis. If you have ideas about what would be better performance measures it would be a good idea to mention those to the transition team.
  • Include outside assessments in your SWOT analysis. Has the Auditor General’s Office produced reports about your agency? What were the findings? Were they addressed or covered up? For example, if the Auditor General found your predecessor failed to follow up on thousands of serious nursing home complaints… and rather than fix the problem, your predecessor simply reclassified 98% of high-risk complaints as low risk (not requiring prompt follow-up), you should discuss how that happened, who was responsible, and what you’re doing to correct the malfeasance.
  • When possible, include the root cause of your weakness and threats. For example, if you run a public health licensing division and your predecessor(s) or current/past agency director prevented you from hiring staff, wouldn’t update licensing fees to support those staff, or wouldn’t include what you need in the agency budget request, you should identify those decisions as a root cause of your weaknesses.
  • The transition team will also likely be talking with stakeholders about your agency’s weaknesses… and the threats your weaknesses post to them. Anticipate what they will be saying and be candid about those weaknesses. For example, if your Vaccines for Children (VFC) oversight program over-regulated pediatric offices resulting in a more than 50% reduction in VFC providers, you should explain how that weakness/threat happened and what you’re doing (if anything) to rectify the problem.
  • If another part of your agency is posing a threat to your division, make sure to include that in your analysis. For example, if you run the public health division and the operations side of your agency (procurement/accounting) isn’t processing contracts with the county health departments promptly (an agency weakness that poses a threat to the county health departments) be sure to include that weakness and threat in your analysis. Include your honest assessment of what if anything has been done to fix the problem, including who might be responsible.
  • Make sure to identify opportunities that could be created with simple policy changes. For example, if you’ve been deciding to not to apply for federal grants because your current agency director and the outgoing governor won’t allow you to hire people to manage the grant if you get it, include that in your matrix with a suggestion that the incoming administration remove the arbitrary ‘head count’ cap that the Ducey administration has imposed on your agency.
  • Keep the initial SWOT to the A list items in your area of responsibility or your agency. Spreading yourself too thin will muddy the water. Remember, the purpose of this high-level SWOT analysis is to help guide your time with the transition team.
  • As you close out your SWOT in your discussions with the transition team, include strategies that could be used to convert weaknesses into strengths. Maybe you can identify ways to use strengths to overcome threats. Would you be able to use strengths to maximize opportunities if you had better leadership decisions? Are there ways to use strengths to compensate for or minimize weak?

Remember, in some ways a meeting with the incoming administration’s transition team can be seen as a job interview.

The incoming administration will likely be looking for problem-solvers who can objectively assess the performance of their agency and identify strategies to improve performance. They’re unlikely to be impressed with persons who appear to be singing the praises of the outgoing administration/director out of personal loyalty.

For you to speak with candor during your transition team meeting you will need to ensure that your conversation with the team is private and confidential. Do everything you can to create an environment that’s safe and that will allow you to speak candidly.

In short…. just be honest.

It’s a 48 Day Sprint to Inauguration Day: Here’s What We Might Expect During the Transition

Being a candidate for the Office of Governor is a marathon. It takes months of planning and execution, endless public and private events, and countless hours fundraising. It’s a 24/7 commitment with very little (if any) downtime. Your reward, if you win, is a 6-week sprint to prepare to govern.

The Office of Governor is the most powerful and influential in the state. In addition to the enormous executive authority, the governor also oversees more than 38 state agencies and dozens of boards & commissions). With only a few weeks to prepare to take office, having an effective team to help you prepare to take the reins of state government is crucial. Most governor elects prepare by forming a transition team of advisors.

Most governor-elect’s will announce who will be on their ‘transition team’ shortly after the election is called in their favor. They almost always will have a single person who is the “head” of their transition team, but sometimes there’s a fake head of the team and a real one.

  • Ducey quickly named Jon Kyl as the head of his transition team, but everyone knew the real head was Kirk Adams.
  • Governor Brewer named Chuck Coughlin from HighGround as the lead for her transition team. Jay Heiler was the ‘Deputy Director of Transition for Personnel’ and Doug Cole was the ‘Deputy Director of Transition for Operations & Communications’.
  • Napolitano tapped former chiefs of staff for two former governors to lead her transition team: Andrew Hurwitz (chief of staff for Governors Babbitt & Mofford), and Chris Herstam (chief of staff for Governor Symington).

Governor elect’s often name all the members of the transition team when they announce the leads. Team members come with various areas of expertise and sometimes have a stake in who ends up in positions of leadership in state government – but not always. Here are the persons that were on Brewer’s Transition Team. Sometimes governor elects will have a core list of formal transition team members and a more informal list of folks they will tap for advice or input as needed.

On Thursday (November 17) Governor-elect Katie Hobbs named Monica Villalobos, president and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Mike Haener, former deputy chief of staff to Governor Janet Napolitano to be the co-leads of her transition team. Additional members of the Hobbs formal transition team or its structure haven’t been announced yet… but transition team members are usually divided into groups that focus on specific areas of the executive branch. Here are some typical examples of working groups:

  • Criminal Justice & Public Safety
  • Natural Resources, Environment & Infrastructure
  • Education
  • Health & Human Services
  • Economic Development
  • Fiscal Policy & Budget
  • General Government

What Does a Transition Team Do?

Transition teams generally have operational goals: 1) Interviewing current administration officials; 2) Making personnel recommendations; and 3) Reviewing agency briefing materials & making recommendations about state government policies & operations.  Health and human services transition team members will usually come with some understanding of the agency’s reputation and that of its leadership.

The personnel & policy recommendations made by the transition team can have a profound (and long-term) impact on state government operations and decision-making.

Reviewing Materials Prepared by Agencies

One of the first things the transition team groups do is ask for the agency’s briefing materials. As they review the quality and content of the briefing documents, they ask themselves: Is this high-quality and professionally prepared? Are the materials objective or self-serving? Do they appear to be prepared at the last minute? How useful is the information?

Meeting with Agency Staff & Stakeholders

The transition team also schedules individual meetings with existing agency directors and their assistants. They usually ask for a 1:1 format so they can get honest answers. For example, if an agency has a weak director who doesn’t know the agency’s subject matter, pays little attention to detail, and/or has difficulty making decisions – the team would like to hear about that from the assistant and deputy directors in an environment where they’re more likely to get honest assessments.

The interviews between the transition team and persons in agency leadership positions are a tightrope walk. If you speak with candor about the weaknesses of your agency director and the sitting governor’s team, you’re risking being dismissed before the inauguration (if there’s a leak). If you’re not honest or withhold your opinion of existing leadership, you risk giving the perception to the transition team that you are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Transition team members also often talk to key stakeholder groups that work or are affected by agency decisions and operations. For example, I’d expect members of the upcoming transition team for ADHS to talk with a few of the directors of the county health department to find out what they think of the current director and leadership team – and to get a sense of agency strengths and weaknesses.

Likewise, I’d expect the transition team group to talk with those regulated by the agency’s licensing division and the bureau of emergency medical services. I’d expect them to reach out to the behavioral health community to get a sense of how engaged the director and leadership have been at managing care and regulating the Arizona State Hospital.

Making Personnel & Policy Recommendations

The transition team will be making recommendations to the new governor quickly because of the time constraints involved. They’ll be looking for agency heads that they believe are wholly unqualified for the current position, some that may be OK for now, and some they think are solid performers that they would recommend for retention. There’s always a blend of the three.

As the transition team meetings are happening, agency directors and sometimes Assistant and Deputy Directors are often invited to reapply for their existing position. The transition team will have activated a website where people can apply for positions in the new administration (that website usually goes up in early November).

They’ll also be working their professional and personal contacts to identify persons that might be a good fit for key leadership positions in the agencies.

As the transition continues, agency staff – especially the 38 agency directors – will be paying close attention to the verbal and nonverbal cues they get from the emerging governor’s team. Agency directors can’t be fired by the incoming administration before the inauguration but are often given subliminal signals about whether they’re likely to be retained or not.

See: Social-service agency chief resigns as Ducey takes office

Governor’s Office Staff

Governors usually tell their transition team heads who they’d like to see as their chief of staff. That’s usually one person, but not always. For example, Napolitano informed her transition co-chairs (Hurwitz & Herstam) that she wanted co-chiefs of staff – one for policy (Dennis Burke) & one for operations (Alan Stephens).

The governor elect will announce who their chief of staff and other advisors will be (usually in November). Sometimes, these persons will be members of the transition team or professional contacts who they have. They are often people who the governor-elect has worked with personally or professionally over the years. Some may even come from the website where people are invited to apply for positions with the administration (but that happens rarely in my experience).

As the governor’s office personnel fall into place the transition team usually takes on less importance as the incoming governor will generally begin to also listen to and act on the recommendations of his or her new staff.

The Finish Line

The transition team’s work is fast and furious in November and December but usually wraps up before the inauguration. Members of the budget/finance transition team may continue to work until the new governor sends her proposed budget to the legislature in mid-January.

Epilog

In my experience, transitions don’t end at the inauguration. They go on for about 6 months. As the governor and her staff on the 8th and 9th floor learn more about the persons at the state agencies, they begin to solidify their opinions about where they want to make more policy or personnel changes.

As issues come up, they ask themselves:  Does this person seem competent? Can I count on this person in an emergency? Is this agency working well for the public? What kind of feedback am I getting from stakeholders about this person/agency? Does this person share my ideology? How loyal does this person seem? Governors place different weights on those criteria.

For example, Governor Brewer was most interested in competence, operational integrity, and service to the public. Governor Ducey was more concerned with optics, personal loyalty, and assurances that the agency director will subjugate their opinions to those of the governor. I expect governor-elect Hobbs to be most interested in competence, operational integrity, and service to the public.

A State Government Transition Team Will Be in Place by This Time Next Week: Here’s How It Usually Works

Within a few days we’ll probably know who the next governor will be. Whether it’s Hobbs or Lake – they’ll just have a few weeks to get prepared to accept the responsibility of being governor (the inauguration is Monday, January 2, 2023).

Governing is different from campaigning. Governing means taking responsibility for the actions of the state agencies, boards, and commissions (there are 38 state agencies and dozens of boards & commissions).

While you might not hear anything about getting prepared to govern on the campaign trail, most candidates have an action plan in case they win. If one starts thinking about the transition after the election, they’re putting themselves at a disadvantage governance-wise. Preparing to take office usually starts with forming a transition team.

Most governor-elect’s will announce who’s on their ‘transition team’ shortly after the election is called in their favor. They almost always will have a single person who is the “head” of their transition team, but sometimes there’s a fake head of the team and a real one.

  • Ducey quickly named Jon Kyl as the head of his transition team, but everyone knew the real head was Kirk Adams.
  • Governor Brewer named Chuck Coughlin from HighGround as the lead for her transition team. Jay Heiler was the ‘Deputy Director of Transition for Personnel’ and Doug Cole was the ‘Deputy Director of Transition for Operations & Communications’.
  • Napolitano tapped former chiefs of staff for two former governors to lead her transition team: Andrew Hurwitz (chief of staff for Governors Babbitt & Mofford), and Chris Herstam (chief of staff for Governor Symington).

Governor elect’s often name all the members of the transition team when they announce the leads. Team members come with various areas of expertise and sometimes have a stake in who ends up in positions of leadership in state government – but not always. Here are the persons that were on Brewer’s Transition Team.

Governor elect’s also frequently set a “transition tone” by showing greater interest in certain issues & agencies. They sometimes also have a preconceived view of an agency (often negative). For example, in a half-hour interview with Dennis Welch this week Kari Lake indicated she will “… clean house at the Department of Health Services and fill it with doctors who understand science.”

Transition team members are usually divided into groups that focus on specific areas of the executive branch. Here are some typical examples of working groups:

  • Criminal Justice & Public Safety
  • Natural Resources, Environment & Infrastructure
  • Education
  • Health & Human Services
  • Economic Development
  • Fiscal Policy & Budget
  • General Government

What Does a Transition Team Do?

Transition teams generally have operational goals: 1) Interviewing current administration officials; 2) Making personnel recommendations; and 3) Reviewing agency briefing materials & making recommendations about state government policies & operations.  Health and human services transition team members will usually come with some understanding of the agency’s reputation and that of its leadership.

The personnel & policy recommendations made by the transition team can have a profound (and long-term) impact on state government operations and decision-making.

Reviewing Materials Prepared by Agencies

One of the first things the transition team groups do is ask for the agency’s briefing materials. As they review the quality and content of the briefing documents, they ask themselves: Is this high-quality and professionally prepared? Are the materials objective or self-serving? Do they appear to be prepared at the last minute? How useful is the information?

Meeting with Agency Staff & Stakeholders

The transition team also schedules individual meetings with existing agency directors and their assistants. They usually ask for a 1:1 format so they can get honest answers. For example, if an agency has a weak director who doesn’t know the agency’s subject matter, pays little attention to detail, and/or has difficulty making decisions – the team would like to hear about that from the assistant and deputy directors in an environment where they’re more likely to get honest assessments.

The interviews between the transition team and persons in agency leadership positions are a tightrope walk. If you speak with candor about the weaknesses of your agency director and the sitting governor’s team, you’re risking being dismissed before the inauguration (if there’s a leak). If you’re not honest or withhold your opinion of existing leadership, you risk giving the perception to the transition team that you are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Transition team members also often talk to key stakeholder groups that work or are affected by agency decisions and operations. For example, I’d expect members of the upcoming transition team for ADHS to talk with a few of the directors of the county health department to find out what they think of the current director and leadership team – and to get a sense of agency strengths and weaknesses.

Likewise, I’d expect the transition team group to talk with those regulated by the agency’s licensing division and the bureau of emergency medical services. I’d expect them to reach out to the behavioral health community to get a sense of how engaged the director and leadership have been at managing care and regulating the Arizona State Hospital.

Making Personnel & Policy Recommendations

The transition team will be making recommendations to the new governor quickly because of the time constraints involved. They’ll be looking for agency heads that they believe are wholly unqualified for the current position, some that may be OK for now, and some they think are solid performers that they would recommend for retention. There’s always a blend of the three.

As the transition team meetings are happening, agency directors and sometimes Assistant and Deputy Directors will be invited to reapply for their existing position. The transition team will have activated a website where people can apply for positions in the new administration (that website usually goes up in early November).

They’ll also be working their professional and personal contacts to identify persons that might be a good fit for key leadership positions in the agencies.

As the transition continues, agency staff – especially the 38 agency directors – will be paying close attention to the verbal and nonverbal cues they get from the emerging governor’s team. Agency directors can’t be fired by the incoming administration before the inauguration but are often given subliminal signals about whether they’re likely to be retained or not.

See: Social-service agency chief resigns as Ducey takes office

Governor’s Office Staff

Governors usually tell their transition team heads who they’d like to see as their chief of staff. That’s usually one person, but not always. For example, Napolitano informed her transition co-chairs (Hurwitz & Herstam) that she wanted co-chiefs of staff – one for policy (Dennis Burke) & one for operations (Alan Stephens).

The governor elect will announce who their chief of staff and other advisors will be (usually in November). Sometimes, these persons will be members of the transition team or professional contacts who they have. They are often people who the governor-elect has worked with personally or professionally over the years. Some may even come from the website where people are invited to apply for positions with the administration (but that happens rarely in my experience).

As the governor’s office personnel fall into place the transition team takes on less importance as the incoming governor will generally begin to also listen to and act on the recommendations of his or her new staff.

The Finish Line

The transition team’s work is fast and furious in November and December but usually wraps up before the inauguration. Members of the budget/finance transition team may continue to work until the new governor sends her proposed budget to the legislature in mid-January.

Epilog

In my experience, transitions don’t end at the inauguration. They go on for about 6 months. As the governor and her staff on the 8th and 9th floor learn more about the persons at the state agencies, they begin to solidify their opinions about where they want to make more policy or personnel changes.

As issues come up, they ask themselves:  Does this person seem competent? Can I count on this person in an emergency? Is this agency working well for the public? What kind of feedback am I getting from stakeholders about this person/agency? Does this person share my ideology? How loyal does this person seem? Governors place different weights on those criteria.

For example, Governor Brewer was most interested in competence, operational integrity, and service to the public. Governor Ducey was more concerned with optics, personal loyalty, and assurances that the agency director will subjugate their opinions to those of the governor.

By next week’s policy update we will know who the next governor will be – and perhaps I’ll be able to shed light on what the next couple of months will bring.

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