Emeritus Senior Fellow
IBM Center for The Business of Government
Mr. Kamensky is passionate about creating government that is results-oriented, performance- based, citizen-focused, and collaborative in nature. This is reflected in the key roles he has played in helping pioneer the federal government’s performance and results orientation over the past three decades. He is currently an emeritus senior fellow with the IBM Center for The Business of Government and focused on management challenges facing government at the federal, state, and local levels.
University of Massachusetts, Visiting Lecturer (2022-2023). Mr. Kamensky teaches a course on Public Performance Management in the university’s graduate School of Public Policy. The course covers basic concepts, the evolution of strategic implementation approaches over the past three decades, and numerous case examples in the federal, state, and local sectors.
IBM Center for The Business of Government, Senior Fellow (2001 – 2021). Mr. Kamensky helped define new areas of public sector research that are critically dependent on the ability to successfully blend technology with human interaction, such as: networks and partnerships organized around results, the use of balanced scorecards to connect individuals in an organization with overall mission results, creating a framework for agencies to assess how well they manage for results, and new ways of creating citizen engagement in governance. In each of these areas, he has written articles, spoken at a range of forums for federal executives, and worked with Center researchers to conduct research in these areas. His blog was syndicated in Government Executive. He has also written for Governing, Federal Computer Week, and Federal Times. Since 2007, he has written more than 800 blog posts and articles on public management issues.
IBM Global Business Services, Associate Partner (2001 – 2021) (formerly PwC Consulting). In addition to his primary role as Senior Fellow, Mr. Kamensky participated in IBM’s public sector consulting projects and proposal development as a subject matter expert, advisor, and project manager. He led work on performance management strategy initiatives where he advised the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Past clients include: the Department of Homeland Security, the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, several confidential agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services, the International Broadcasting Bureau, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Science Foundation, and the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Deputy Director, National Partnership for Reinventing Government (1993 – 2001). Mr. Kamensky was Vice President Al Gore’s deputy for leading his reinventing government initiative, the National Partnership for Reinventing Government (NPR, previously named the National Performance Review before 1997). Mr. Kamensky catalyzed the strategic framework for the initial 1993 review. Leading a set of teams of about 100 people, he helped craft recommendations that ultimately saved over $60 billion and led to dramatic improvements in government operations. This included procurement reform, reductions in the size of the workforce, creating a vision of how information technology should be used in the government, and the creation of agency head performance agreements, customer service standards, and financial standards.
After that initial report, he helped manage a staff of about 35 where he continued to champion a more results-oriented government by promoting the creation of performance-based organizations and encouraging agencies to manage for results through the implementation of the Results Act, employee surveys, and customer surveys. He sparked a governmentwide performance management initiative that led to the October 2000 revision of performance standards for senior executives across the government. He helped lead an NPR taskforce that created the first governmentwide web portal – FirstGov.gov (now www.usa.gov).
Various Positions, Government Accountability Office (1977 – 1993). Before joining NPR in 1993, he was an assistant director with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) where he was responsible for evaluating federal agency management improvement efforts. While at GAO, he examined the experiences of several countries and states in implementing “managing for results” concepts. He also had a significant role in the development and passage of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 and in drafting GAO’s white paper for the 1992 presidential transition on government management issues.
During his 16-year career with GAO, he specialized in management issues, with an emphasis on federal- state-local relations. He led a team of 30 in conducting GAO’s work on intergovernmental programs such as block grants, regulatory reform, and grants-in-aid distribution formulas. He also served on an assignment to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Ways and Means oversight subcommittee where he conducted reviews and hearings of federal social insurance programs.
Related Experience. Prior to joining GAO, he interned for the 1974 Texas Constitutional Convention, the Texas House of Representatives, the City Manager’s Office in San Angelo, Texas, and the Texas Lieutenant Governor’s state governmental reorganization project. He also served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, working for the Office of Economic Adjustment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, assisting communities facing base closures.
Mr. Kamensky has been a frequent speaker on government reform issues across the U.S. and internationally. He has also written numerous articles and testified before Congress.
Mr. Kamensky received a B.A. in government at Angelo State University, in San Angelo, Texas, in 1975 and a Master of Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, at the University of Texas in Austin in 1977.
Professional Contributions and Associations
Mr. Kamensky is a senior fellow (and former public member) of the Administrative Conference of the U.S. and a former member of a public advisory committee for business operations at the National Science Foundation. He is a Fellow of the National Academy for Public Administration, where he previously chaired the standing panel on executive and organization management. He also previously chaired an Academy panel reviewing the Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits backlog and Academy panels supporting its presidential transition initiatives in 2008, 2016, and 2020. He has chaired or participated in other Academy study project panels in recent years.
He is an active member of the American Society for Public Administration where he is a senior fellow with its Center for Accountability and Performance (of which he was a past chair and board member). He also co-chaired ASPA’s 2014 annual conference and is the past chair of the PATimes editorial board and served on the editorial boards of Public Administration Review, Emerald Books, and the International Journal of Policy Studies.
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
Kamensky, J.M. (2023). “Are We There Yet? The Evolution of the U.S. Federal Performance Management Framework: 1993-2022.”International Journal of Public Administration.
Kamensky, J.M. (2022). “Book Review: Solving Public Problems – A Practical Guide to Fix Our Government and Change Our World,”Digital Government: Research and Practice, (August).
Kamensky, J.M. (2021). “Chapter 1: Three Parallel Movements to Improve Government Decision Making: Performance, Evidence, and Behavioral Public Administration,” in Public Performance and Productivity Handbook, Third Edition, Marc Holzer, Ed. New York, NY: Routledge Press. pp. 17-47.
Kamensky, J. M. (2020). “The Performance Management Movement and the Evidence Movement: Their Potential for Improving Government Decision Making.”International Journal of Policy Studies,11(1), 21-45.
Kamensky, J.M. (2020). “Chapter 12: Practitioners: What Do They Want to Know?,” in Networks and Collaboration in the Public Sector: Essential Research Approaches, Methodologies, and Analytic Tools, Joris Voets, Robyn Keast and Chris Kolliba, Eds.New York, NY: Routledge Press, ISBN/ISSM: 978-1-315-54493-9.
Kamensky, J.M. (2018). “Looking Back Over My 45 Years of Involvement with Government Reform Efforts,” Public Administration Review, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Kamensky, J.M. (2018). “Chapter Four: Managing Performance,”in Government for the Future: Reflections and Vision for Tomorrow’s Leaders, Mark A. Abramson, Daniel J. Chenok, and J.M. Kamensky, Eds. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., pp. 61-89.
Kamensky, J.M. (2018). “Chapter Six: Becoming Collaborative,” in Government for the Future: Reflections and Vision for Tomorrow’s Leaders, Mark A. Abramson, Daniel J. Chenok, and J.M. Kamensky, Eds. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., pp. 111-137.
Kamensky, J.M. (2011). “The Obama Performance Agenda: A Mid-Term Snapshot,” Public Performance Management Review, M.E. Sharpe, Inc.,
Kamensky, J.M. (2011). Chapter 15 “Governing with Foresight: Institutional Changes to Enhance Fact-Based Presidential Decision Making,” in Evidence-Based Public Management: Practices, Issues, and Prospects,edited by Anna Shillabeer, Terry Buss, and Denise Rousseau. Taylor & Francis Publishing Group.
Kamensky, J.M. and Jonathan D. Breul (2008). “Lessons from Clinton’s ‘Reinventing Government’ and Bush’s ‘Management Agenda’ Initiatives,”Public Administration Review, Nov/Dec. Wiley-Blackwell.
Kamensky, J.M. and Jay Fountain (2007). Chapter 23 “Pulling It All Together: Creating and Sustaining a Results-Oriented Performance Management Framework,” in International Handbook for Practice-Based Performance Management, edited by Patria de Lancer Julnes, Fran Berry, Maria Aristigueta, and Kaifeng Yang. Sage Publishing.
Kamensky, J.M., (2005). Chapter 3, “The Legislative Framework” in Getting Results:A Guide for Federal Leaders and Managers, Vienna, VA: Management Concepts.
Kamensky, J.M. (2002). “Air Traffic Services’ Journey to Becoming More Business-Like,”Journal of ATC(October-December).
Kamensky, J.M. (1998). “The Best Kept Secret in Government: How the NPR Translated Theory into Practice,” a chapter in Transforming Government: Lessons from the Reinvention Laboratories. Patricia Ingraham, James Thompson, Ronald Sanders, editors (Jossey-Bass Publishers: San Francisco) pp. 58-96.
Kamensky, J.M. (1996).“Role of the ‘Reinventing Government’ Movement in Federal Management Reform,” Public Administration Review, 56 (3). pp. 247-255.
Kamensky, J.M. (1995). “A Balanced Budget? Now What Do We Do?,”(Public Manager)
Kamensky, J.M. (1993). “Program Performance Measures: Designing a System to Manage for Results,”Public Productivity Review,16:4, pp. 395-402.
Kamensky, J.M. (1990). “The 51st State? “ [Puerto Rico], The GAO Journal, No. 10, Fall, pp. 44-48.
Kamensky, J.M. (1983). “Washington and the States: The New Face of Intergovernmental Relations,” GAO Journal, No. 6, Summer 1989. Pp. 46-52.
“Six Hours -- And No Reprieve,” in E.W. Jones, et al, Practicing Texas Politics, 5th Edition.(Houghton Mifflin Co.: Boston). pp. 76-79.
Kamensky, J.M. (1983). “The ‘Reagan Revolution’ Hits Texas,” E.W. Jones, et al,Practicing Texas Politics, 5th Edition.(Houghton Mifflin Co.: Boston). pp. 513-515.
Kamensky, J.M. and Peter J. Lemonias (1982). “Let’s Get Organized! Congress Considers a New Hoover Commission,” GAO Review, 17:3, Summer, 41-46.
Mark Abramson, Daniel Chenok, John Kamensky, Eds.,Government for the Future: Reflection and Vision for Tomorrow’s Leaders.Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2018.
Mark Abramson, Daniel Chenok, John Kamensky, Eds.,Getting It Done: A Guide for Government Executives: 2017 Edition.Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2016.
Abramson, Mark, Jonathan Breul, John Kamensky, and Martin Wagner, Eds,Getting It Done: A Guide for Government Executives.Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2008.
Abramson, Mark, Jonathan Breul, John Kamensky, and Martin Wagner, Eds,The Operator’s Manual for the New Administration.Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2008.
Morales, Albert and John Kamensky, Eds.,Competition, Choice, and Incentives in Government Programs.Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2006.
Morales, Albert and John Kamensky, Eds.,Managing for Results 2005.Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2005
Burlin, Thomas J., and John Kamensky, Eds.,Collaboration: Networks and Partnerships.Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2004.
Abramson, Mark, John Kamensky,.Eds. Managing for Results,2002. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2001.
IBM Center Reports/Selected Articles
Chenok, Daniel and John Kamensky,Government Reform: Lessons from the Past for Actions in the Future,IBM Center for The Business of Government, 2021.
Kamensky, J.M., Emily Craig, Sheri Fields, Lawrence Tobin, and Michaela Drust.Distance Work Arrangements: The Workplace of the Future is Now.IBM Center for The Business of Government, 2020.
Kamensky, J.M.Cross-Agency Collaboration: A Case Study of Cross Agency Priority Goals,IBM Center for The Business of Government, 2017.
Kamensky, J.M., “Showtime! Creating a Management Framework to Get Results,”The Business of Government,Summer 2004.
Abramson, Mark, Jonathan Breul, and John Kamensky “Four Trends Transforming Government,”The Business of Government,Summer 2003.
Kamensky, J.M., “The Quest for Accountability: Linking Senior Executive Performance to Agency Results.”The Business of Government, Summer 2001,pp. 10-13.
Awards and Recognition
2011 Cornelius E. Tierney/Ernst and Young Research Award (sponsored by the Association of Government Accountants)
2019 Theodore Roosevelt Government Leadership Award (sponsored by Government Executive)
2022 Harry Hatry Distinguished Performance Management Practice Award (sponsored by the Center for Accountability and Performance)
Areas of Interest/Expertise
Organizational performance management
Implementation of management reforms