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Volcker pursuing new make-a-difference venture

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Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman and veteran of a couple of blue-ribbon commissions, is launching a nonpartisan initiative with the goals of rebuilding both government performance and public trust in government. “Trust rests on confidence and too often government, at all levels, in the eyes of its citizens, has been unable to respond effectively to the challenges of the day,” he said in a news release this week announcing creation of The Volcker Alliance.

Heading the new organization is Shelley Metzenbaum, who recently departed the Office of Management and Budget, where she had worked since 2009 as associate director for performance and personnel management. Besides sponsoring research on government performance, the alliance will produce “actionable” recommendations for policy development and implementation, according to the release. It will also provide a forum for discussing new ways of strengthening “policy execution at all levels of government.”

The roster of the alliance’s board of directors shows some names that will be familiar to anyone who recalls the National Commission on the Public Service, which Volcker chaired about a decade ago. The board includes four people who served on the commission: former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, former Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., former Comptroller General Charles Bowsher, and Richard Ravitch, a New Yorker who’s done a lot of different things.

Some other members of the alliance board are ex-OMB Director Alice Rivlin, political scientist Norman Ornstein, former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairwoman Sheila Bair (who last year published a book on her experiences during the financial crisis), and Francis Fukuyama, another author probably best-known for his 1992 book, “The End of History and the Last Man,” which crunched 19th-century German philosophy and the end of the Cold War.

Assuming you can get everyone in the same room, there should be some interesting discussions–or at least a fun cocktail party.

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