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Laurence E. Lynn

The US has had an ambiguous relationship with the global public management reform movement known as new public management (NPM). Although many of its themes, concepts, and tools have long been elements of federal, state and local public administration, American public management reforms have been decidedly heterodox. Beginning in 2001, however, President George W. Bush announced “The President’s Management Agenda,” which reflected much of the essential spirit of NPM. Many features of Bush’s agenda were overruled by federal courts because they violated public employees’ rights. Others died in Congress. Still, Bush themes continue to dominate reform discourse, and elected executives in state and local government support them. However, Bush’s successors have shown little sustained interest in ambitious public management reforms.