A Professional Development Program for
Early- and Mid-Career Professionals in New York Public Service
Sponsored by
The New York State Academy for Public Administration (SAPA)  

Program Mission
The State Academy for Public Administration (SAPA) promotes excellence in public service and fosters commitment to the highest standards of performance and integrity in public administration throughout New York State. One of the ways we strive to meet this mission is by providing professional development opportunities for early- and mid-career professionals in state and local government and in nongovernmental organizations working with government.    

Essentials of Public Administration is a professional development program that has two objectives: (1) to enable its participants to learn more about career-related issues of state public administration set in larger contexts and (2) to encourage participants to network with and mentor one another and with SAPA board members who are mid-career and senior public administrators in New York State.

The broader goal of the program is to provide participants a sense of belonging to a larger public administration community and a culture of people dedicated to public service in New York. The program also affords the opportunity for participants to form lasting professional relationships with other members of the public administration community.

Essentials is open to early- and mid-career professionals who seek or recently obtained a managerial position (overseeing a program area and/or staff) in state or local government or in a nongovernmental organization working with government. Participants range from Excelsior Fellows committed to finding a career in state management to fifteen-year veterans in state government who have recently secured a management position.

 Program Description
The program consists of six sessions, on the first Wednesday of each month, from October 6, 2022 (which is actually a Thursday due to Yom Kippur being on Wednesday) to April 5, 2023, except January, from 5:30 – 6:45 PM. An informal networking session among participants, presenters, SAPA Board members and invited guests follows each session. During the 2021-2022 program year, program sessions were held remotely via Zoom due to the pandemic.  At this time we are planning on continuing to deliver the program remotely, but are hopeful to return to in-person sessions in 2022-2023 contingent upon the state of the pandemic.  A decision regarding in-person delivery will be made by the SAPA Board based upon public health guidance in September 2022.

During each session, participants will learn from and interact with one another and a senior practitioner and SAPA board members. Each month, the speaker will focus on a topic that relates to a larger issue or theme of direct practical relevance to state and local public service today (see   topic list below). Speakers will incorporate hypotheticals and activities that encourage lively discussion that relates the presentation to participants’ current jobs and career plans. 

Participants who successfully complete the program will receive a Certificate of Completion and become SAPA members, with free dues for the remainder of the 2023 calendar year.

Presentation and Discussion Topics:
Our presentations will explore a broad range of topics that encourage participants to “look up and see the forest,” but feature speakers who are thoughtful practitioners who can bring these topics down to earth. 

1.  October 5, 2022, Wednesday -Two Cultures of Administration.
Every agency has two mindsets that can multiply or divide any team effort. On one hand, there is the institutional orientation, typically represented by line managers, budget officers, HR, and the legal/contract/counsel’s office who try to maintain institutional interests, enforce the rules, and keep the agency’s mission on task, on budget, and on schedule. On the other hand, there is the program orientation peopled by the scientists, experts, and program staff who may be less concerned about the rules and more concerned about “getting the job done” and achieving their program’s goals. When institutionalists are perceived as “can’t do” people, or when program specialists feel honor-bound to skirt the rules, the agency’s mission and morale may suffer. How can institutionalists and program specialists in your agency overcome differences to move the agency’s missions forward and to change when change is called for?

Presenters (INVITED ):  Paul Shatsoff, former Director of Administration Governor’s Office of Employee Relations, and former Adjunct Professor, Rockefeller College (University of Albany); and Stephen Schechter, Professor, Russell Sage College, who has worked for or served on various federal, state, and local commissions.

This session also will introduce the Essentials program, its participants, and the basics of how to network (an activity that people praise but few feel comfortable doing). 

2.  November 2, 2022, Wednesday –Politics and the Permanent Bureaucracy.
Much has been made of the tension between the needs of elected officials and their appointees and the policies that have been put into place by civil servants in the permanent bureaucracy or what is disparagingly referred to as the so-called “Deep State.”  How should agencies reconcile the needs of these two constituencies? How should agencies accommodate the demands for political change?

Presenter (INVITED):  David S. Liebschutz, Public Service Professor, Rockefeller College (University at Albany) and a proud member of the bureaucracy at federal, state and local levels.

3.  December 7, 2022, Wednesday –Working for the Hollow State.
Can public administration be deep and hollow at the same time? The hollow state here refers to two major trends of public service — a dwindling state government workforce and an increased range of outside nongovernmental and intergovernmental partners. What do these trends mean for you in carrying out your responsibilities, in who you work with, and how you succeed interacting with these outside entities who often-times are inside state agencies?

Presenter (INVITED):  Richard Rose, retired, Director, Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision, Adult, Career, and Continuing Education Services, NYS Education Department; currently Professor of Educational Leadership, Russell Sage College.


4.  February 1, 2023, Wednesday -The Ethical Administrator.
Public service is a noble profession, but how easy is it to do the right thing? For example, what should you do if you think your supervisor or a co-worker is engaged in active unethical behavior, or a co-worker is spending hours a day on personal business? What are the benchmarks of ethical behavior and how do you deal with unethical behavior in the workplace? In this session, our presenter will engage participants in the topic and its hypotheticals.

Presenter (INVITED):  Sorelle Brauth, former Director of Administration, NYS Department of Public Service.

5.  March 1, 2023, Wednesday –Implicit Bias.
We cannot begin to understand workplace diversity until we understand implicit bias in ourselves and others and how to deal with it.

Presenter (INVITED): Michael Washington  is eminently qualified to speak to and facilitate this session. He has led such trainings for agencies across state government. He serves at the Department of Civil Service where he is Deputy Commissioner. In that capacity he oversees the Office of Diversity & Inclusion Management (ODIM), the Testing Services Division, and Staffing Services Division – including Employee Health Service. DC Washington started his career as a Corrections Officer with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and steadily moved through the ranks as Recruit Training Instructor, Affirmative Action Administrator, and as Director of DOCCS’ Office of Diversity Management. DC Washington served as the Director of ODIM when it was established in 2018, where he was responsible for supporting enterprise-level diversity and inclusion initiatives and providing oversight and guidance to State agencies regarding their diversity & inclusion programs. As the Deputy Commissioner for Diversity, Inclusion & Merit System Operations, DC Washington provides executive leadership to the agency’s merit system activities, while continuing to advance the State’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity.

6.  April 5, 2023, Wednesday –Navigating the N.Y.S. Civil Service System.
Guided discussion on how the NYS civil service system can work for you along with tricks of the trade when it comes to career mobility. Topics include advancing within the system as well as transferability and provisions 52.6 and 70.1. 

Presenters (INVITED): Carlos Millán (Human Resource Specialist 1, Personnel, NYS Department of Taxation and Finance), and Paul Shatsoff (see above). 

This year’s Essentials Class:

Alice Antwi –  NYS Office of Mental Health
Sujaya Balanchandran –  NYS Assembly
Jenifer Chapman –  NYS Division of the Budget
Alexandra DeFrancesco –  NYS Statewide Financial System
Kaylynn Enright –  NYS Division of the Budget
Sean Ewart –  NYS Executive Chamber
Aaliyah Fernandez –  NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
Maxwell Ferris  –  NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
Colin Henehan –  NYS Division of the Budget
Alexia Holden –  NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities
Joanna Kaufman –  NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
Jordan Koster –  NYS Department of State
Blake Livingston –  NYS Department of Motor Vehicles
Stephanie Lord –  NYS Division of the Budget
Andrew McMahon –  NYS Department of Labor
Kimberly Morigerato –  NYS Office of General Services
Juan Carlos Posada –  NYS Office for People of Developmental Disabilities
Albert Pruett –  NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities
Wenqian Robertson –  NYS Office for Children and Family Services
Shakera Tems –  American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – District II
Kristen Vacca –  NYS Department of Health
Brian Warrington –  NYS Department of Motor Vehicles

For more information, contact: Daniel Cunningham, SAPA Fellow and Board Member at .