Allen Lomax Awarded NCAC’s Award for Outstanding Service

The ASPA NCAC “Award for Outstanding Service” acknowledges individuals who have been a member of our chapter for five years and have demonstrated a life of service to the public sector, public organizations, and the public at large. 


This year our chapter has chosen Allen Lomax to receive this noted award. 


Allen has been on NCAC’s Board since 2013 when he was appointed by the ASPA National’s Board of Directors to assist in helping to rejuvenate the chapter. He is a Lifetime member of ASPA and the longest “active” member of the chapter. He has brought a wealth on knowledge and insight to the chapter’s workings and activities. Most recently, his work with the City of Alexandria has informed our programming on Affordable Housing and the Opioid Crisis and brought important intergovernmental perspectives to our chapter’s goals and priorities. He has been and continues to be a valued friend and mentor to others on the board and in the chapter.


Thank you Allen for your service and dedication to the public, our chapter and to public administration.


Presented by Board Bember Michael Silliman

My View, Opinion, Alexandria, Times, 2010

My View | Allen Lomax


Allen C. Lomax Chosen as Honoree for the Lewis Hine Award for Service to Children and Youth, City of Alexandria, 2013



Categories: ASPA News, Event, Latest News

Dr. Anthony Fauci Awarded NCAC’s Francis Kelsey Award

The ASPA National Capital Area Chapter “Frances Kelsey Award” acknowledges individuals who have demonstrated courage in promoting the public interest while employed in government; as a public servant, contractor, or grantee. The award is named in honor of Dr. Francis Kelsey, a 45-year veteran of the Federal Drug Administration {FDA), who served as the Director of the FDA’s Office of Scientific Investigations, and who courageously resisted pressure to approve the pharmaceutical drug Thalidomide for therapeutic use in the United States in the 1960s after discovering a link between the drug and severe birth defects.

At the time of Dr. Kelsey’s review, Thalidomide had been sold to pregnant women in Europe and elsewhere as an anti-nausea drug to treat morning sickness. The pharmaceutical company responsible for its development wanted a license, for similar use, in the United States.

The Washington Post opined that “[the] tragedy was largely averted in the United States, with much credit due to Kelsey … For a critical 19-month period, she fastidiously blocked its approval while drug company officials maligned her as a bureaucratic nitpicker.” The Washington Post went on to describe Dr. Kelsey as a “heroine” whose “skepticism and stubbornness … prevented what could have been an appalling American tragedy.”

There are fewer honors and awards than people who deserve them. They are rare and are reserved for people who have achieved excellence in their field, made significant observable changes or accomplishments, and whose work products have benefited the citizens of the United States, or humanity at-large, in their field or activity.

Dr. Anthony Fauci meets and/or exceeds the criteria required for consideration as a recipient for the “Frances Kelsey Award”. Dr. Fauci has served American public health in various capacities for more than 50 years and has been an advisor to every United States President since Ronald Reagan. Dr. Fauci became Director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in 1984 and has made contributions to HIV/AIDS research and other immune-deficiency diseases, both as a scientist and as head of the NIAID.

From 1983 to 2002, Dr. Fauci was one of the World’s most frequently cited scientists across all scientific journals. In 2008, President George W. Bush awarded Dr. Fauci the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, for his work on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a United States governmental initiative to address the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and help save lives of those suffering from the disease. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Fauci was one of the lead members of President Donald Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force. In the early stages of the pandemic The New Yorker and The New York Times described Dr. Fauci “as one of the most trusted medical figures in the United States”. He made clear the importance of evidence-based decisions and strove to ensure the public was well-aware of the information it needed to inform their actions. Dr. Fauci was recently appointed Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden and continues to serve as the Director of NIAID.

Dr. Fauci shares with Dr. Kelsey a long and distinguished history of public service. Both helped strengthen national health standards protections for citizens of the United States and humanity at-large; are recipients of numerous prestigious awards related to their public service achievements; are recognized nationally and globally as leaders in their respective fields; demonstrated the ability to manage and lead in response to national controversies; and possess a dedication to the duties and responsibilities of public service, as well as a winning temperament.

For the above reasons, the ASPA National Capital Area Chapter is honored to present the 2021 “Frances Kelsey Award” to Dr. Anthony Fauci for his outstanding public service.

Presented by Board Member Arthur Elkins

We were fortunate to have Dr. Fauci send us a video in acceptance of this award.

Political Polarization, COVID, Social Justice Issues, and Where America Goes From Here


A book review and interview with the author by Natalie Donahue

The inspiration for “The Divided States of America” stemmed from Dr. Kettl’s dissertation.  He decided to take a fresh look at the field to understand what the underlying issues were and where federalism may be headed for the future.  That may sound strange as many people think of federalism (if they think of it at all) as a static concept; an idea grounded in the founding of our current government dating back to when the states signed the Constitution after powers not delegated to the federal government were reserved to the states through the 10th amendment.  But, in fact, there have been four “generations”, as Kettl calls them, of federalism in the United States in which states and the federal government have fought for primacy.

The first generation lasted nearly 100 years from the ratification of the Constitution until the end of the Civil War, where the states were the primary power in the country.  With the passage of the 14th amendment asserting the fundamental equality of Americans with the states being forbidden to “make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities” of any citizen, the idea of federal primacy was clear – leading us into the second generation of federalism which shifted the balance of intergovernmental power away from the states and toward the federal government.  However, the primacy of the federal government was short-lived as the states pushed back and argued that the way the Constitution should be interpreted should be through the decisions they make – with states fighting to sustain a “separate but equal” doctrine.  States’ rights ruled social policy in America with the passage of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 which ended the separate but equal doctrine and with it, state dominance in social policy, creating the third generation of federalism.  Federal dominance was once again short-lived as the fourth wave of federalism began in the late 1960s as states renewed their pre-eminence through the administration of national programs (such as Medicaid).  

In this fourth generation of federalism, the United States has seen increased inequality both among and between the states.  Depending on perspective, this inequality creates unfairness, undermines democracy, and generates distrust.  The roots of this inequality grow in the political diversity of this country.  The battle between both the size of government and the scope of government programs has been at the forefront of politics for decades but is especially acute now.  As Kettl said in our discussion: “The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a great example in that conservatives were against it, liberals were for it, and we saw the two political parties playing tug-of-war in the creation of the program, but the administration surrounding the implementation decisions of ACA was left to the states.  In effect, the ACA, like Medicaid, became not one national program, but 51 different programs” (50 states plus the District of Columbia).  This notion brings us back to the premise of “The Divided States of America” being that federalism guarantees that the government Americans get depends on where it is that they live.  State by state, we see there is tremendous variability and enormous amounts of inequality across the country.  This leads to increased polarization, which leads to increased inequality, with the problem spiraling.

The issue of inequality was particularly acute across the United States in 2020.  I asked Dr. Kettl about the role of federalism as it pertains to the social justice movement rallying behind the cause of racial injustice, particularly around the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others at the hands of police.  Dr. Kettl talked about the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the idea that national principles were truly national in scope – but what we have seen over the past year in particular is that the efforts of the federal government to shape national policy turned out to be resting more in the hands of the states; with great variance between them.  “The idea of having a single national policy dissolved in the face of different kinds of strategies and different states.  Putting all this together, we discovered that the sense of unity that had grown out of federalism seem to have been either short-lived or never really existed to begin with – as the whole movement for civil rights was largely a product driven by the federal government.  [So what we see now] is that not only has the consensus seem to have dissolved, but the consensus about how to frame a consensus has dissolved.”    

Dr. Kettl and I also spoke about the COVID pandemic and the big role federalism has played in the country’s response to it.  A modern principle of federalism is that states are to act as “laboratories of democracy”, meaning states would experiment and be innovative in their policy implementation decisions; where one state found success, other states would adopt those lessons and follow them within their own borders.  However, states are now basing their decisions “much more on an ideological basis than on issues of either principle or evidence.  [Overall, there is an] unwillingness to even count what it is that is working best, let alone to be able to follow what it is other states are doing”, said Kettl.  “When COVID hit U.S. shores last year, we saw early on a political polarization of wearing masks and even whether or not COVID was real; all of which affected the way in which states responded, with the states going down very different kinds of roads”.  The United States saw states bidding against each other for personal protective equipment, states encouraging mask-wearing while others encouraged herd immunity as a response.  

This struggle has continued during the COVID vaccine rollout – where, again, the variance between the states and their approach to vaccination has been the main determinant of the overall health of their citizens.  “It is arguable that the reliance on the states taking the front lines and first devising a strategy for dealing with COVID and now for the states to have the front-line responsibility dealing with vaccinations has, in fact, proven dangerous and cost lives”.  Due to state governments not having the resources, capacity, or the interest in providing a solution for all their citizens (particularly those in underserved communities) and each state going their own way in their COVID response plan, the country as a whole will be unable to be fully safe. 

So how do we move into a fifth generation of federalism where Americans experience less inequality and outcomes are not determined by the state in which we live?  “There is a real urgency for the country to have a national conversation about the balance of power, as we’ve introduced a lot more inequality into the system… which, in the long-run, is dangerous to democracy.”  Dr. Kettl thinks we should look to another founding father, Alexander Hamilton, who was perhaps the strongest champion among the nation’s founders of a powerful, robust central government.  What we need is “not federal government control, but a stronger federal government steering wheel to shape things like a national response to a national issue; issues that affect everyone, whether directly or indirectly, [which are] things that require a stronger national voice and stronger national consensus.  This is unlikely to happen if we allow 50 different states to go 50 different directions – the cost of which would be to encourage and to fuel greater inequality, which is the one thing the country does not need at this point.  There has to be not federal control but a partnership between the federal government and state and local governments.”  

Dr. Kettl believes the rollout of the COVID vaccine provides the perfect opportunity for the levels of government to work effectively in a coordinated way to try to address the issue, and come together as a country to find a solution that works effectively for all citizens regardless of the neighborhood or community where they live.  Now is the time to move to that fifth generation of federalism and find the right balance between federal and state power in order for the country to truly become the United States of America. 

You can buy a copy of Dr. Kettl’s “The Divided States of America: Why Federalism Doesn’t Work” at your favorite local bookstore.

Natalie Donahue and is the Chief of Evaluation in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and also moonlights as an adjunct at various Universities teaching monitoring and evaluation and public policy courses.  In doing some course prep for a public policy class, she stumbled upon arguably one of the best books to be published last year: Dr. Donald Kettl’s The Divided States of America. 

PRAC Data Science Fellowship Program

Are you a recent graduate? The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee has launched its Data Science Fellows Program for recent grads, college juniors and seniors. There are multiple positions, both full and part time available.

For more information about the Fellowship go to:

For immediate consideration, please email a cover letter summarizing your qualifications and a resume to, with subject line: Data Scientist Fellowship.


Categories: Current Events

ASPA 2021 Annual Conference

The ASPA Conference this year, Picking Up the Pieces: Pandemics, Protests and the Future of Public Service, will be held online starting April 9, 2021. The conference offers 7 days of content, 56 hours of programming and over 150 panels. Please visit the ASPA Annual Conference page at to find out more on all the great panel tracks and special speakers. Registration is open and is a great price for the outstanding knowledge you will gain for your personal development and to do your job even better.

Allen Lomax

By NCAC Board Vice President Allen Lomax

Happy 100th Birthday U.S. Government Accountability Office

This year marks the 100th birthday of the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). The Congressional agency, originally called the General Accounting Office, was created by the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921. Its name was changed in 2004. Throughout its history GAO has saved the federal taxpayers many millions of dollars and made government much more efficient and effective. GAO’s work focuses on anything and everything that impacts the lives of the American people. To discover GAO’s rich history and work, please visit its web page GAO@100

Here’s to another 100 years!

Here is an interesting connection of GAO to ASPA—Elmer B. Staats, the Fifth Comptroller General of the United States (1966-1981) the title of the head of GAO, was a founding member of ASPA in 1939, was President of the Washington, DC chapter (now NCAC) (1948-1949) and ASPA’s National President (1961-1962).


Allen Lomax

By NCAC Board Vice President Allen Lomax

Categories: Latest News Tags: Tags: ,

Natalie Donahue (Federal Government)

My name is Natalie Donahue and I am the Chief of Evaluation in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State.
In my spare time I also serve as the Membership Chair for the Washington Evaluators (the American Evaluation Association’s DC region local affiliate organization) and teach public policy courses for The Ohio State University (my alma mater).
I lead an incredible staff of Monitoring and Evaluation Specialists in measuring and evaluating the effectiveness and long-term outcomes of ECA’s exchange programs through conducting complex analyses and evaluations, monitoring our programs, and building the evaluation capacity of our colleagues and external partners. I am also responsible for coordinating ECA evaluation initiatives and policy within the Bureau and ensuring ECA’s evaluation efforts are aligned with Department of State and Congressional policies and priorities.
I lead an incredible staff of Monitoring and Evaluation Specialists in measuring and evaluating the effectiveness and long-term outcomes of ECA’s exchange programs through conducting complex analyses and evaluations, monitoring our programs, and building the evaluation capacity of our colleagues and external partners. I am also responsible for coordinating ECA evaluation initiatives and policy within the Bureau and ensuring ECA’s evaluation efforts are aligned with Department of State and Congressional policies and priorities.
My team’s work provides a means to better understand where ECA programs are successful and where improvements can be made – all in the effort to ensure U.S. taxpayer dollars are being spent effectively. The data and analyses provided by my team’s efforts enable ECA program staff and senior leadership to assess performance and inform strategic planning at both the Bureau and individual exchange program levels. As our Bureau is dedicated to transparency and accountability, all evaluation reports are posted online so the American people are aware of and understand the effectiveness of ECA exchange programming.
It’s an exciting time for my team and I as we are now piloting our new Monitoring Data for ECA (MODE) Framework; our Bureau-wide monitoring system we collaboratively created with relevant stakeholders throughout 2019. This includes a strategy crosswalk of how ECA programs advance National Security Strategy priorities. You can find out more about the MODE Framework here.
I’m always happy to meet new people (particularly those with good book recommendations!) so feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. I’d love to hear from you!

Steven Putansu, PhD (Federal Government)

I split my time as a public servant at the US Government Accountability Office (GAO); a professorial lecturer at American University; and a public management scholar. I try, as much as I can, to find connections between research and practice, and across academic fields and disciplines, to advocate for thoughtful development and use of policy knowledge in government decisions. This means finding a balance between often competing goals and working to ensure that considerations of the four pillars of economy, effectiveness, efficiency, and social equity are incorporated throughout decision making, policy implementation, strategic management, and evaluation processes.
I have been a dedicated public servant for over ten years. This role has given me the opportunity to generate and analyze evidence to support results-oriented policy and effective, efficient, and equitable governance. My methodological contributions have ensured rigorous technical standards in hundreds of GAO performance audits, helped provide policymakers with high-quality information for overseeing federal programs, and supported the best use of taxpayer dollars. I am so proud to be a part of the team at GAO, where I am surrounded by other dedicated and committed public servants working to improve federal government spending, processes, management, and outcomes. GAO has given me the opportunity to work in dozens of policy areas, and I am always excited to understand and try to find opportunities to improve federal programs across the spectrum of policy. That said, two of the contributions I am most proud of are 1) Evidence-Based Policy and 2) Policy Coherence.
I have supported many GAO engagements that have reviewed the use of strategic planning, performance management, evaluation, and evidence-based policy to support and improve decision making across the government. This has given me an appreciation for evidence that is sufficient and appropriate for different purposes, for the values and tradeoffs among different methodological approaches, and for the continued importance of ideological, interest, and institutional influence on decision making. This work helps ensure that federal programs generate and use strong evidence to support their decisions. It also gave me many important insights for my book, which assessed how policy knowledge works in concert with political factors in decisions about federal education policy.
Over the past ten years, GAO has built a body of work on fragmentation, overlap, and duplication (DOF, for short) in the federal government, and I have been lucky to be a part of this work for nearly the entire time. This work comprehensively looks at the effects of DOF – both positive and harmful – and thoughtfully considers how actions to reduce, eliminate, or better manage these areas can improve how government works. This body of work has led to over $400 billion in financial benefits for the federal government, and numerous non-financial improvements to the planning, coordination, and implementation of fragmented, overlapping, and duplicative programs.
There are many amazing public servants and academics on twitter! You can follow me at @steveputansu – then check out who I follow to find some real superstars!

Connie L. Berhane (Federal Government)

It gives me great pleasure to introduce myself. I am a Senior Management Analyst with over 20 years of Federal Civil Service. I currently work for the Department of the Army, Force Management Support Agency.
First, some fun facts about me. I love to travel!  My previous excursions were Aruba, Dominican Republic and Grand Turks and Caicos.  I was scheduled to cruise to Alaska in June of this year but Covid19 had its say….what a bummer! I enjoy spending time with family and friends, volunteering in my spare time and “chalking up” a few steps with Fitbit Workweek hustle! That’s how I exercise and it’s fun too!
As a Senior Management Analyst, I oversee diverse portfolios of Army organization structure and major systems for multiple Army Commands.  The products I provide are data driven, integrate manpower, personnel and equipment. I offer comprehensive leadership, management and technical guidance across organization management communities.
My agency plays a vital role in processes which establishes and resources mission-ready Army organizations and all elements of the Army Organizational Life Cycle Model that meets the Secretary of the Army’s statutory requirements to resource; maintain and station the Army.
We ensure the Army is efficiently and effectively organized, manned, equipped, trained, and sustained through delivery of our products. My work is very unique.  I am able to evaluate and apply organization designs and models that meet the critical needs of the Army. I am proud to serve as a member of the Army team and Institution.
It has been a pleasure sharing a few tidbits about me!  I can be reach reached at or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Arthur Elkins (Local Government)

My name is Arthur Elkins and my employer is the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC). I serve in the role of Inspector General at WSSC.
As the independent Inspector General for WSSC, I provide leadership to a team of auditors, investigator, legal counsel and support staff whose mission is to assist WSSC with recommendations designed to enhance programmatic and operational efficiencies and effectiveness, compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies that support and advance WSSC’s mission to provide safe and reliable water to our environment in an ethical, sustainable, and financially responsible manner.
Our independent work provides a means for transparency, accountability, and assurance to WSSC rate payers, who are citizens of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties Maryland, that their funds are being used as intended by State law, regulations, and policies.
I can be reached at or via LinkedIn.