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Change Has Come to America

Nov. 5, 2008 — President-Elect Obama took to the stage last night and declared "change has come to America." On this historic night, when voter turnout may end up being the largest since 1908, when a significant change in party dynamics occurred, at the end President-Elect Obama stood alone waving to supporters and savoring his victory.

Now the hard work begins. He must govern in a time of crisis. We still don't know whether the Democrats will have a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, but it looks unlikely. Still, Democrats made key gains in both the House and Senate. This "mandate" may lead to an expectation of quick results and President-Elect Obama sought to address that in his remarks last night:

"The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America — I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you — we as a people will get there."

While everyone wants to know how the new Administration will affect total rewards issues, first up is the transition process from the Bush administration to President-Elect Obama's Administration. Next is working with the new Senate to get the nominees confirmed, a task that has proved daunting for previous presidents.

WorldatWork has launched a page dedicated the transition process on the WorldatWork Web site to keep you in the loop on everything that is happening there. From my perspective as a member of a previous presidential-elect transition team, this process is much like the one WorldatWork members work on all the time: Attracting key talent into the new administration, motivating the talent that is currently there and retaining key talent that will be helpful in moving forward.

Carrie, I know you have been looking into the transition process in-depth, can you help shed some light on what to expect and, of course, any of your thoughts on the election's impact?

Last night we watched an historic event. And one of the things that most impressed me was Sen. John McCain. He avoided the partisan bickering that came after the past two presidential elections and gave his concession speech relatively early in the night and spoke eloquently about the campaign and his former opponent once the electoral math reached the necessary 270. (As of the time I’m writing this, the Electoral College stood at 338 votes for Obama and 161 for McCain with 3 states still too close to call.)

“I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our goodwill and earnest effort to find ways to come together … Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.”

As for the transition process, expect things to move quickly, especially with the Treasury posts. Obama has already announced his pick for Chief of Staff, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.). Also, there has already been speculation and predictions surrounding his other cabinet picks. For those truly dedicated to politics, there’s a Web site where you can make your own predictions.

This process needs to happen quickly so that President-Elect Obama has the critical people he needs on the ground, or as close as possible, once he’s in office. And the appointment process is not known for its brevity. New laws now require that national security nominees be voted on within 30-days of their nomination being submitted. However, the last two administrations (Bush and Clinton have dragged their feet getting their nominees in, with Bush taking an average of 65 days and Clinton an average of 90.

Keep your eye on the transition page Cara mentioned because we will be updating it on a regular basis as more nominees are announced and confirmed.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of WorldatWork.


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