Seeking to Improve Administrative Transparency and Expertise

Font Size:

Federal agency issues recommendations to improve transparency and help better inform administrative government.

Font Size:

The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS)—a federal agency focused on finding ways to make administrative processes more transparent, efficient, and accountable—sponsors research aimed at crafting recommendations to improve agency processes. In developing its recommendations, ACUS brings together government officials, members of the private sector, and members of the public to deliberate and endorse its proposed solutions to process-related problems.

At its last plenary session in December, ACUS adopted five new recommendations seeking to bring about improvements in the following areas: compliance with the federal Vacancies Act; the process of hiring agency attorneys; the production of economic analysis within agencies; the ability of the public to know who is leading government agencies; and the role of research in administrative adjudication. The Regulatory Review invited leading scholars and selected ACUS staff members who were involved in developing these five recommendations to discuss how their adoption by federal agencies would improve administrative government.

This series of essays highlights how even modest adjustments in the ways that federal agencies operate might be able to bring about meaningful increases in governmental transparency and efficacy. The contributors to this series contend that these recommendations, if implemented, would promote greater public awareness of agency operations and better informed administrative processes.

We are delighted to feature the following contributors to this series of essays: Jerry Ellig, George Washington University’s Regulatory Studies Center; Jeremy Graboyes, Administrative Conference of the United States; Bobby Ochoa, Administrative Conference of the United States; Anne Joseph O’Connell, Stanford University Law School; Aaron Nielson, Brigham Young University; and Eloise Pasachoff, Georgetown University Law Center. The Regulatory Review is pleased to present this series of essays on ACUS’s most recent set of recommendations.

Acting Officials and Delegated Authority

June 29, 2020 | Anne Joseph O’Connell, Stanford University Law School

Vast vacancies in Senate-confirmed agency positions throughout the federal bureaucracy raise serious concerns about agencies’ ability to meet their public missions. To address some of these concerns, ACUS urges agencies to foster greater transparency about acting officials and their delegations of authority.

Identifying Agency Leaders

June 29, 2020 | Aaron L. Nielson, Brigham Young University, and Bobby Ochoa, Administrative Conference of the United States

Given the importance of providing the public with information about federal officials, the federal government can and should do a better job of making basic information about high-level officials easily available.

Improving Economic Analysis by Reorganizing Agencies’ Economists

June 30, 2020 | Jerry Ellig, George Washington University

ACUS adopted a multi-part recommendation to help regulatory agencies assess how the organization and management of their economists can best promote objective economic analysis and effective communication of the results to decision-makers.

Recruiting and Hiring Agency Attorneys

July 1, 2020 | Eloise Pasachoff, Georgetown University Law Center

Agency attorneys play a critical role in upholding the rule of law in the administrative state. It ought, then, to be straightforward to hire them. But recruiting and hiring attorneys into the federal government is anything but straightforward.

Managing Adjudicators’ Information Access in the Internet Age

July 2, 2020 | Jeremy Graboyes, Administrative Conference of the United States

ACUS encourages agencies to develop clear, fair, and efficient policies to ensure parties have ready access to all sources and a meaningful opportunity to rebut or give different perspectives to officially noticed facts and the inferences drawn from them.