September 2020

SAPA Quarterly News

  • Why SAPA?
  • Essentials Begins Third Year
  • SAPA Events
  • Membership
  • Annual Dues
  • Governing Magazine
  • Route Fifty
  • Seeking Feedback on SAPA Programming
  • Seeking Volunteers to Sustain Operations
  • Save the Date!
  • Follow SAPA on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
Why in this strange new normal do we choose to take time away from our families, loved ones and our careers to volunteer for a not-for-profit organization that seems to have lost a bit of its luster? We take calls, make calls, compose emails, respond to emails, call in favors on behalf of the organization, reach out to folks we haven't seen in a bit just to see if we can entice them to join SAPA. We do all of these things because we believe we can make a difference for someone. You just might meet your next great staff member here, or your next best boss ever here. Maybe you learn something from the menagerie of experiences in Public Service brought by our membership. Maybe reaffirming your commitment to our mission is what will make you a better Public Administrator.

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.

This mission is accomplished through:

  • Engaging public service professionals in support of public administration;
  • Recognizing and celebrating excellence in public service;
  • Convening public servants to discuss existing and emerging public policy issues;
  • Providing leadership development for public service professionals;
  • Providing connectivity and networking among the public administration community.
Essentials Begins Third Year 
Essentials is SAPA’s leadership development program. This year, beginning in October, we have a diverse mix of early-career professionals in state or local government. The program seeks to engage the participants in strong content with high-powered speakers, create opportunities for networking, and arrange mentoring relationships. We hope the program provides participants with a sense of belonging to a larger public administration community and a culture of people dedicated to public service in New York.

Each year Essentials offers six sessions from October to April on important issues of public administration related to the participants’ careers. Our sessions examine six topics:

1.   “Two Cultures of Administration” on how people with institutional and program orientations can work together in public service. Presented by Paul Shatsoff, former SAPA board member, former Director of Administration Governor’s Office of Employee Relations, and former Adjunct Professor, Rockefeller College (University of Albany); and Stephen Schechter, SAPA board member and Professor Emeritus, Russell Sage College.

2.   “Politics and the Permanent Bureaucracy,” on the tension between the needs of elected officials and policies put in place by civil servants in the permanent bureaucracy. Presented by David S. Liebschutz, Public Service Professor, Rockefeller College (University at Albany).

3.   “Working for the Hollow State,” focusing on two major trends of public service -- a dwindling state government workforce and an increased range of outside nongovernmental and intergovernmental partners. Presented by Richard Rose, retired, Director, Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision, Adult, Career, and Continuing Education Services, NYS Education Department.

4.   “The Ethical Administrator,” engaging participants in hypothetical situations involving ethical issues that arise in their public administration workplace. Presented by Sorelle Brauth, SAPA board member and former Director of Administration, NYS Department of Public Service.

5.   “Embracing Diversity,” training participants in bias management in the diverse workplaces of state and local government. Michael Washington, Director of Diversity and Inclusion Management, NYS Department of Civil Service.

6.   “Mapping Your Career in Government, “ a panel discussion on career mobility and. how to navigate the NYS civil service system and its features such as provisions 52.6 and 70.1. Panelists include Catherine Durand (SAPA board member and former deputy commissioner), Carlos Millán (Human Resource Specialist 1, Personnel, NYS Department of Taxation and Finance), and Paul Shatsoff (see above) as moderator.
SAPA Events
Candid Conversation
A Candid Conversation on Implicit Bias with Mr. Michael Washington, Director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Management (ODIM) for the New York State Department of Civil Service will be held on October 28, 2020 from 12:00 - 1:30PM via WebEx. Conducted as a training session, this Candid Conversation explores how core beliefs contribute to explicit and implicit biases, and how these biases affect not only the workplace, but also the delivery of customer service to New York State’s diverse communities. The presentation will provide a working definition of diversity and inclusion along with a discussion as to how such attributes result in positive impacts on workplace morale, productivity, and service delivery. The session is designed to be interactive, engaging participants in exercises and discussions about how implicit biases are reinforced daily without us knowing or thinking consciously about it. Exercises also unpack the benefits of promoting an environment that is diverse, and a work culture that is inclusive. Attendance is limited so please register early since admission is based on a first-in basis. 

Mr. Washington has over 24 years of service with New York State – and approximately 17 years of which have been spent in the furtherance of Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity initiatives. ODIM was established in December 2018 in accordance with Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order #187. Mr. Washington leads ODIM in upholding the State’s commitment to increase diversity within the workforce, and to promote inclusion within the workplace.
Public Service Excellence Awards
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, SAPA has cancelled the 2020 Excellence Awards Program (scheduled for May 28).  Next year we hope to pick up where we left off, presenting awards which are designed to demonstrate our appreciation for a special group of outstanding public servants.

Pictures of last year’s Awards Event can be viewed on the SAPA gallery,
SAPA members demonstrate:

  • Skills in public administration acquired through studies or employment in a related field, whether academic, government or nonprofit;
  • A record of ethical and responsible behavior in the performance of their duties;
  • Interest in the continuous improvement of the public service in New York; and
  • Willingness to participate in and support the programs and activities of the State Academy.

The State Academy has three (3) levels of membership; Fellow, Associate Fellow, and New Professional. The definitions of and requirements for each membership level is included on the MembershipApplication(MS Word).

Annual dues vary according to membership category.  Fellow ($30), Associate ($20), New Professional ($10). The first year of membership is dues free for the balance of the calendar year.

Leaders of the SAPA Candid Conversation series and individual recipients of SAPA awards automatically become Fellows for one year after which they are required to file a membership application. Members of the Academy are provided access to and serve as subject matter experts for State Academy programs.

If you or someone you know fits the membership criteria described on the membership application, consider submitting a nomination using the form below:

Annual Dues
Thank you to all our esteemed and valued members who continue to support our mission by paying annual dues in a timely manner. Your contribution is what keeps SAPA thriving. With your support we are able to offer programs to new professionals as well as acknowledge those who have made grand contributions in public service. Unfortunately, we will be forced to deactivate members who have not yet paid their 2020 dues. We do hope that such members will reconsider their commitment to SAPA and recommit to our cause, and become active members once again.
Governing Magazine, a fascinating resource that discusses issues on the forefront of our minds concerning a range of local to Federal governmental issues that can be at your fingertips simply by registering here;
A Forum for Federalism That’s Sorely Missed
A tiny agency did important work on our intergovernmental system for decades. It's unlikely that the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations can be revived, but we still need what it did. DONALD F. KETTL, FEDERALISM COLUMNIST, SEPTEMBER 15, 2020, OPINION

A small band of federalism fans has been plotting for some time to bring the old Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations back to life. There seems to be little hope they'll be able to re-create the old tunes, but the effort is a worthy one: We need the kind of forum the ACIR provided as much as ever.
The Drowned-Out Voices for Racial Justice
Political exploitation of pain and fear has diverted our attention from the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement. Public officials need to work to bring us back to the more important issues. JABARI SIMAMA, GOVERNMENT AND EDUCATION COLUMNIST, SEPTEMBER 14, 2020, OPINION

Several months ago, it seemed as if we were nearing a period of national reckoning on race. Polling showed that a majority of Americans, regardless of political affiliation, supported many of the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement, particularly around reforming policing. Since then, however, the voices for justice and social change have been drowned out by louder and angrier calls for law and order appealing to the racial fears of some Americans. Public officials have an important role in leveraging the resources of their governments to address the underlying causes of this tension and bring their communities together.
Route Fifty - Connecting state and local government leaders
Amid Pandemic, A Call to Re-balance State and Local Power
As flare ups between states and localities over the corona virus response get attention, one scholar says it may be a good time to reexamine the relationship between the two levels of government.

Whether it’s plastic bag bans, minimum wage hikes, paid sick leave or a host of other issues, localities around the U.S. in recent years have often found themselves blocked under state law from adopting policies that their own local elected leaders and voters support.

More recently, similar clashes involving state and local authority have come up in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, with governors and local leaders at odds in some cases over the best way to respond to the disease outbreak.
More from Route Fifty
Additional Articles on Current Events
Seeking Feedback on SAPA Programming
If you have some great ideas that you feel would benefit our members;

  • Candid Conversations topics
  • Wish to hear specific person speak
  • Ideas for a ‘lunch and learn" workshop
  • Articles to share in the next Newsletter

Please submit your ideas to
Seeking Volunteers to Sustain Operations
SAPA is a member-based organization with a volunteer Board. Its success is attributed to the enthusiasm and dedication of its members. Below is a list of committees the Board established to support the organization. To join, please send an email of interest to: Together, we will build an even stronger SAPA!

Note: You do not have to be a member of the Board to volunteer for a committee.

1) Membership: Manage recruitment, engagement, and dues collection of current membership. Maintain database and organize elections for positions on the Board of Directors.

2) Marketing & Communications: Market SAPA via social media, website, and media outreach. Coordinate development of quarterly update newsletter for members.

3) Program: Annual curriculum development and event organization for Candid Conversations series, Essentials sessions, and special events.

4) Public Service Excellence Awards: Solicit and review nominations, as well as organize logistics for annual award ceremony in May.

5) Rockefeller Award: Lead selection of recipient and coordinate logistics for award ceremony for every other year. May include coordination of SAPA's annual membership meeting.

6) Technology: To research a more appropriate platform that will support the needs of the association and be fiscally responsible.
Save the Date!

Upcoming Board Meetings

SAPA Board of Directors’ meetings are open to all members in good standing. Due to the COVID-19, Board meetings are held via Zoom. Members can request a Zoom link for the meetings at Dates for scheduled meetings are:

  • October, Tuesday, 10/6/20
  • November, Tuesday, 11/10/20
  • December, Tuesday, 12/1/20
  • January, Tuesday, 1/5/21
  • February, Tuesday, 2/2/21
  • March, Tuesday, 3/2/21
  • April, Tuesday, 4/13/21
  • May, Tuesday, 5/4/21
  • June, Tuesday, 6/8/21

Follow SAPA on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

Now you can keep up with SAPA, engage with other members, and proudly showcase your affiliation
through your Facebook or LinkedIn account! Like our Facebook page or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter to get updates on events, member highlights, and useful articles between newsletters.