By Steve Kelman

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The Lectern: The Clinton Foundation and Public Management

A recent issue of The Economist of London has a feature called "The Brand of Clinton" on the Clinton Foundation and on President Clinton's new book "Giving." Two comments in the feature caught my eye, because they both suggest that Clinton is applying to his new work the same management principles as marked the Administration's "reinventing government" effort.


One is Clinton's support for what he calls "bleeding-heart cheapskates," philanthropists who "like low administrative overhead" and "measure pretty ruthlessly for return." On the latter, President Clinton is referring to the growing insistence of many younger philanthropists, and now many philanthropic foundations as well, for performance measurement to accompany their giving.


Shades of the Government Performance and Results Act and the efforts begun in the Clinton Administration (and, happily, continued under President Bush) to encourage performance measurement for government organizations. The other comment in the feature that was interesting was its highlighting of Clinton's efforts for "cutting the price of...drugs for AIDS victims in poor countries" by negotiating "bulk-purchase agreements."


This was of course something that we pushed in the Clinton Administration, and that continues with current strategic sourcing efforts. Fortunately, President Clinton is in his current job not limited by "anti-bundling" legislation passed by Congress at the behest of some small-business government contractor lobby groups (and generally, unfortunately, backed by the Bush Administration), which has made it more difficult to establish new bulk-purchasing agreements and hindered strategic sourcing.

Posted by Steve Kelman on Oct 08, 2007 at 12:08 PM


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