Part of the answer is that they get a lot of help from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which has been responsible for supporting presidential transitions since 1961. Today, of course, much of that support is provided online. In November of last year, the GSA launched the 2016 Presidential Transition Directory, a website that provides access to key resources and policies related to presidential transitions. Those resources include the following:
- The Plum Book – Officially titled “United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions,” the Plum Book contains data on over 8,000 positions in the executive and legislative branches that are subject to noncompetitive appointment. It is published alternately by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
- Government Manual – This is the official handbook of the federal government, with information on agencies, boards, committees, and international organizations in which the U.S. participates.
- Presidential Transition Guide to Federal Human Resources Management – This publication of the Office of Personnel Management provides information on ethical standards, positions subject to change in a transition, appointments, compensation, and personal identity verification.
- Records Management Guidelines – The National Archives provide documents, policies, and training courses related to records management.