The newly elected chief executive--president, governor, county executive, mayor--and the managers inside the bureaucracy begin their relationship with considerable tension. During part of the first year, each side has varying degrees of skepticism, doubt, and even some fear as to the intentions and ability of the other. Questions that loom large in the mind of the chief executive relate to the bureaucrats' loyalty, ability, and willingness to change. Will they support my policies? Will they really try to make my policies work or will they sabotage them through poor action and inaction? Are they competent? Are they willing to work hard? Will they be open to change? Will they help me move in the direction I promised the citizens by coming forward with proposals for change based on their more intimate knowledge of the operations of government?
No less important are questions that managers in the bureaucracy have about a new chief executive and that executive's own ability, priorities, commitments, new appointees, and views on the purpose of government. Were his criticisms of the bureaucracy during the campaign largely political rhetoric, or does he really view us as the enemy? Does he care about the programs we are managing, or are they rather low on his list? Will he have an open mind about what it will take to have the programs produce what the laws promise? Is he appointing first-rate people to head each agency, or does he consider these jobs as political plums for campaign supporters who may know little and care even less about the long-term effectiveness of government? Will he and his appointees assume we are competent and dedicated professionals, or do we start with two strikes?