Saturday, August 7, 2010

Define Presidential: A Contest

The PMF Program Office is looking for suggestions from current PMFs about the meaning of "Presidential" in Presidential Management Fellows. They are accepting 60 second videos starting August 9, and the deadline to get them in is August 31. The terms are available on a special new portion of the web site, which also has an updated URL:

Videos will be judged on clarity, content, and style, and must be uploaded to YouTube.

Putting aside the idea of a video contest, there's the whole question of what it means to be "Presidential" in the first place with respect to such a program. Since most of my visitors are prospective PMFers, you'll undoubtedly have your own concept of what this means, so I am certainly interested in what it means to you. As a current PMF, I have my own ideas about this, and amazingly (or not), it's not just about how we PMFs perceive ourselves. Tied up in all of this, though, are issues of prestige, rigor and exclusivity getting into the program, treatment of PMFs at the hands of agencies, and the expectations of PMFs with respect to the program requirements, both from the PMF Program Office and from the agencies in which PMFs serve. There are also perceptions that the PMF program has lost its way over the years, failing to reach a diverse enough audience and allowing agencies to treat PMFs as yet another expedited hiring authority (i.e., another way to avoid the burdens of Veteran's Preference, which applies in a slightly different way in the PMF program).

Simply put, I doubt I could fit in 60 seconds what presidential means, because it has so many other dependencies. What do you think?


  1. The truth is, I think the PMF program in its current form is far removed from the Oval Office. True, almost all of us are in the Executive Branch (I think the Congressional Research Service is the only non-Executive hiring agency), but Executive Branch does not equal Presidential. The strongest connection, in my opinion, dates back to Jimmy Carter's 1977 Executive Order to create the program.

  2. I think you're probably right. I find it a bit interesting (maybe despairingly so) that the most presidential program in existence is the White House Fellows program. I'm not sure the name of the PMF program is very accurate, so either we have to find ways of being more like the WHFs or drop the whole presidential think. Government Management Fellows anyone?