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Public Sector Reform: Principles and Perspectives and A Comparative Overview of Public Sector Reform in the United States and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas

Donald M. McCartney Dr. William Waugh Independent Study PAUS 8911 4 April 2005

Donald M. McCartney MPA, MSc.Ed. (Hons.), B.A., T.C.

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Dedication This study is dedicated to all public servants of goodwill, who serve the public with pride, dignity, integrity, courtesy and are committed to the support of the principles and perspectives of public sector reform.

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Contents Introduction (4-5) Traditional assumptions that underpin public sector reform (5-11) Scope of this paper (11-12) The need for public sector reform (12) Politics and public sector reform (13) Factors which impact the speed and variation of public sector reform (13) Political leadership and public sector reform (14-16) What is public sector reform? (16-17) What is government and why does it exist? (17-19) What does the public sector look like? (19-22) What does the public sector do? (22-23) Public sector reform in the United States (23-33) Public sector reform in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas (33-49) General conclusion (49-53) Works cited (54-56) Appendix (57)

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Public Sector Reform: Principles and Perspectives and A Comparative Overview of Public Sector Reform in the United States and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Introduction While this paper will not focus on an analysis of public sector reform, it will present principles and perspectives that impact upon public sector reform. This paper will also focus on a comparative overview of public service reform in the United States of America, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. It should be noted that this paper will not attempt to analyze the efforts at public sector reform in these jurisdictions. In this paper, the terms public service, public sector, public servant, public employees, civil servants, and civil service will be used interchangeably. When considering public sector reform whether nationally or internationally, there are some salient factors that apply and must be taken into consideration. The public sector and its efforts at reform cannot be separated from governance. In this regard, governance can be seen as a scarce commodity (Peters 1996, 2001, 1). Examining governance from an historical perspective will reveal that governance has created a number of institutions within the public sector to “control” and “influence” the “societies” and “economies” for which they have been given the mandate to govern. It has been posited that governance as it exists today, may not be as it has been in the past. This view is due, in large measure, to external forces and institutions that have

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had an impact on government’s capacity to govern.

Couple this with the fact that

internally there has been a rebellion by the governed with respect to being controlled or directed by government. Even those large organizations within the private sector have joined in the rebellion, which has created a shift in the power structure. With the apparent shift of power, it has become necessary for governments (political leaders) to examine their effectiveness in shaping and influencing the lives of those whom they govern (Peters 1996, 2001, 1-4). The events of the 20th Century (and the 21st Century) is shaping up in the same vein) has shown that it has become the norm to blame government and the public sector for all of the unsuccessful attempts at governance and providing the service that the citizenry demanded and continues to demand. It is against this backdrop that those who govern and those who promulgate the policies of government continue to search for better ways to govern. In so doing, the common wisdom postulates that efforts at public sector reform solves one set of problems only to create a new strain of problems that require new attempts at reform (Peters 1996, 2001, 4). Traditional assumptions that underpin public sector reform There are several assumptions that have been put forward, which are applicable to any discussion of public sector reform. These assumptions deserve mention prior to delving into efforts at public sector reform in the United States, and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

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The first of these assumptions is that of an apolitical civil service. This assumption speaks to the “neutrality” of the civil service. This assumption translated means that civil servants ought not to have any published political attachments. Further translated, this assumption also means that civil servants must be loyal to the

(policies and procedures) government of the day. The notion of an apolitical civil service came out of the Anglo-Saxon tradition. With respect to the United States, it was Woodrow Wilson1 who gave credence to the concept. Wilson’s view was further reinforced by F.J. Goodnow2 (Peters 1996, 2001, 4-7; Nigro and Nigro 2000, 24-28, 4149). The second assumption speaks to the hierarchy and rules of the public sector. During the early development of the modern civil service, it was assumed that the hierarchical and rules bound management was the order of the day. This conceptualization of the civil service was and is referred to as the Weberian model (after Max Weber3). When
Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856 – February 3, 1924) was the 28th President of the United States. A devout Presbyterian and leading intellectual of the Progressive Era, he served as president of Princeton University then became the reform governor of New Jersey in 1910. With Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft dividing the Republican vote, Wilson was elected President as a Democrat in 1912. 2 Frank Johnson Goodnow, Ph.D., LL.D. (1859–1939) was an American educator and legal scholar, born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Amherst College in 1879, from the Columbia Law School in 1882, studied at the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques, Paris, and at the University of Berlin. He held positions at Columbia University from 1883, becoming a full professor in 1891. During the years 1913-1914 he served as legal advisor to the Chinese government. In 1914 he became president of Johns Hopkins University. He is considered an important early scholar in the field of public administration as well as administrative law. 3 Maximilian Carl Emil Weber (IPA: [maks ˈveːbɐ]) (April 21, 1864 – June 14, 1920) was a German political economist and sociologist who is considered one of the founders of the modern study of sociology and public administration. He began his career at the University of Berlin, and later worked at Freiburg University, University of Heidelberg, University of Vienna and University of Munich. He was influential in contemporary German politics, being an advisor to Germany's negotiators at the Treaty of Versailles and to the commission charged with drafting the Weimar Constitution.
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translated, this concept simply meant that all civil servants were bound to obey not only their superiors but also the rules that govern the civil service. This assumption is no longer as strong as it was in the past (Peters 1996, 2001, 7-9). The third assumption is that of permanence and stability. This assumption, as it relates to the public sector, is interpreted to mean having a lifetime commitment to the civil service. In this regard, civil servants “contract” to forgo high income for the security of working in the civil service. This assumption has come under attack due to changing economic circumstances and shifts in government’s focus and priority. The change in economic circumstances and the change in the focus and priority of government have resulted in cutbacks in programs, hiring moratoriums and reduction of the size of the civil service in some jurisdictions. These are all factors, which impact permanence and stability in the civil service. It should also be noted that in many developing countries, the government is a major employer, and as such is seen as an employer of last resort. Therefore, the permanence and stability of the civil service becomes an institution in itself (Peters 1996, 2001, 9-10). Permanence and stability can also be interpreted to

mean that the civil service in democratic societies is seen as the “glue” that holds the country together when administrations change. In essence, the stability and permanence, of the public service in a democracy, is seen in the transition of the outgoing administration to the incoming administration. The fourth assumption with respect to government is that of an institutionalized civil service. This assumption is characterized as a relatively new phenomenon. It is a

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new phenomenon because in the past the system of patronage and/or service to the crown was the hallmark of the management of the state. Even the modern state, according to Max Weber, began with charismatic and traditional authority, which used patrimony followed by the rational-legal authority. The concept of an institutionalized or “distinctive”, “professional” civil service has also come under scrutiny with respect to trends in the modern political directorate. This has been the case in a number of international jurisdictions whose aim is to create a civil service that is action oriented and dedicated (Peters 1996, 2001, 10-11). It has been opined that government itself has become less permanent with respect to its commitment to personnel. Government departments and ministries find themselves reacting to the many demands that are made of them with regard to the services they offer their constituents and relevant stakeholders. This approach to impermanence in dealing with manpower, no doubt, will cut costs. However, it creates a new set of challenges and problems for those who manage and those who set policies for the civil service. The temporary employee becomes an integral part of the civil

service structure. This can create additional problems for the public, separate from those that are presented to be the domain of civil servants who are a part of the

establishment. In addition, the public will have to make do with public servants who do not have the commitment to service and the values that are supposedly embodied in the established public servant. The fact of the matter is that temporary employees may be

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bereft of the “training” and “information” that are needed to perform their jobs at an acceptable level (Peters 1996, 2001, 4-11). During these times of constant change, while the civil service, as an entity has not been challenged, its traditional management system has been challenged and questioned. One example of this is the system of classifying personnel within the civil service across the board with respect to qualifications, level of task difficulty and pay scales (Nigro and Nigro, 2000, 163-170). Moving from one grade to another was by merit, which was determined (and still is in some systems) by performance and a number of examinations and competitions (Peters 1996, 2001, 11). Internal regulation is another assumption that should be considered with respect to the civil service when considering public sector reform. This assumption indicates that the civil servants should be obedient and responsive, without question, to the dictates of the political directorate (Nigro and Nigro, 2000, 24-28; 41-43). This mandate traverses beyond the concept of loyalty to the policies and practices of the government of the day. The political directorate, in an effort to have greater control and accountability, seeks to control the public service. In so doing, the political directorate creates additional problems. It appears that organizations, within government, are overly regulated. This is particularly the case in those democracies that were originally influenced by the British public service system (Peters 1996, 2001, 11). It has been posited that “reinvention” and “deregulation” appear not to be in the best interest of those states that are in transition and are coming into their own. In these

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regimes, the claim is that the over regulation has prevented public sector employees from being creative in the performance of their duties. As a consequence, the citizenry has not been able to access services without encountering problems. Agencies within the international community and the private sector have brought pressure to bear on governments to release its agencies from the vice like grip by which they are held. Those jurisdictions, where it may not be appropriate to encourage “reinvention or “deregulation,” must recognize that there is a need for more “predictability” and “accountability” as opposed to the encouragement of entrepreneurship, which appears to be more appropriate in those countries that are developed (Peters 1996, 2001, 11). Finally, the assumption of equality of outcomes of “governance” and “public administration” as it was traditionally known must be acknowledged. The civil service of yester year and even today (to a lesser extent) stressed the importance of “equal pay” and “conditions of service” for all civil servants, who were similarly situated. This effort to provide uniformity within the ranks of the civil service was also the norm with respect to the decision regarding the delivery of service to the citizenry at large. Translated, this meant that clients who had the “same objective characteristics” were to obtain the identical benefits of service without regard to which agency of government was providing the service. The traditional assumptions of an apolitical, hierarchy and rules, permanence and stability, institutionalized civil service, internal regulation, and equality of outcomes may in some sense be outmoded, but these assumptions must underpin any discussion

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or debate on future public sector reform. These assumptions, while perhaps not totally acceptable in today’s public sector, form the foundation upon which future public sector reform is built. Scope of this paper Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay put it very simply when he said, “Reform that you may preserve.” Many countries around the world have engaged in the process of public sector reform. Among the countries that have been actively engaged in the process of public sector reform are the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand (Comprehensive reform); Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, Canada, the United States of America, Denmark and France (Incremental reform); and Germany, Norway, Switzerland and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas (Limited reform). In the case of the countries categorized as Incremental reformers, they are further categorized as follows Finland, Netherlands, Sweden and Ireland (Active reformers); Canada and the United States (Mixed reformers); and Denmark and France (Partial reformers). In focusing on the principles and perspectives that impact public sector reform in the countries noted above, it is important to discuss: (1) why there is a need for public sector reform? (2) Politics and public sector reform (3) Factors which impact public

sector reform (4) Political leadership and public sector reform (5) What is public sector reform? (6) Government and why does it exist (7) What Does the Public Sector Look Like? (8) What does the public sector do?

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The need for public sector reform Reformation, in the public sector in the United States, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and other countries, has taken place for a number of reasons. Among the many reasons given for public sector reform are the following: (1) Fiscal constraints; (2) A desire to improve/raise the standard of services offered to citizens; (3) Economic development; (4) Social survival and growth; (5) A more demanding and informed consumers of public sector services; (6) A new vision of what government should be like; (7) Emergence of a decentralized, smaller and more service oriented government; (8) Greater citizen engagement; (9) Reduction in public perception of the legitimacy within those jurisdictions, which have a federal government; (10) Shifting demographics; (11) The recognition of the importance of effective leadership; (12) Technological advances; and (13) Political party participation (Research Directorate of the Public Service Commission, 1999, 4/14, 3/11, 3/12, 3/12, 3/12). This list is by no means exhaustive. Politics and public sector reform The key to making changes is vested in the political and not in the administrative (Arberach and Rockman 2001, 24-34). This being the case, it is important that participation of the political directorate in public sector reform be noted. With respect to the participation of political parties in the public sector reform process, Benjamin L. Crosby, in his book “Strategic Planning and Strategic Management: What Are They and

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How Are They Different?” makes some salient observation about the importance of politics as they relate to strategic management. Those involved in the public sector reform process should not ignore these observations. Crosby noted, “Politics will determine the policies that are to be implemented…In particular, strategic thinking recognizes and emphatically takes into account politics and the exercise of political authority. Managers are not free to do anything they decide…among those constituents, political actors are perhaps the most important.” Factors, which impact the speed and variation of public sector reform While the preceding section listed the reasons for public sector reform, it is important to note that “it is not what caused countries to pursue reform, but which factors may account for the speed of reform and variation with which governments or state systems have recognized their bottom line and reacted to it. Factors that might account for the speed and variation of public sector reform include: (1) the role of political leadership, (2) historical legacies and institutional constraints, (3) variations in modes of reform, and (4) the ‘logic’ or ‘stages’ of reform” (Toonen 2001, 188). Political leadership and public sector reform The scope of this paper will not allow for an examination of the four factors that account for the speed of reform and its variation. It is important, however, to further underscore the role of political leadership as it relates to public sector reform. Despite the notion that the key to making changes is vested in the political and not the administrative, and as contradictory as it may seem, it is safe to state that

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politics shapes administration and administration shapes politics.

It also has been

opined that politics has a stronger impact on administration than administration has on politics. The Right Honourable Perry G. Christie, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas summed it up well when he said, “…there must be an understanding that leaders of the service both political and institutional – that means you and me – that we accept the need for change; that is all of us buy into the change agenda and commit ourselves to change. You have that commitment that together, we shall influence the reform agenda.”4 Early management studies have long touted the central role that is played by leaders in the change process in organizations. It is further stated that change and its successful implementation is dependent upon knowledgeable, committed leadership (Vinzant and Vinzant 1996, 139-157). Political leadership is an essential element, which makes a difference in public sector reform. It is well and good to recognize the nature of the challenge of politics in public sector reform, but ensuring that it has a prominent place on the political agenda is indeed another matter. In many countries, there has been tremendous variation in the “timing” and “intensity” of ensuring that public sector reform is placed on the agenda. In the process of public sector reform, “cut back policies, for a long time, were wrongly perceived as unpopular and therefore politically unwise” (Toonen 2001, 189). When serious observations are made about public sector reform efforts in many countries, it
Excerpted from a speech delivered by the Prime Minister at a Public Sector Reform Forum for Senior Public Officers, Executives of Unions and Staff Associations on Friday, 28 Oct., 2004.
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has been the civil servants as opposed to politicians who initially have been in the vanguard for public sector reform. It must be noted that in many countries, the civil service (public sector) sustains the reform effort in the long run even when the political directorate initiates the process. Despite any efforts on the part of civil servants, however, only the politician can take the necessary risk and the resultant political heat that comes with it. This calls for strong leadership with strong symbols and sweeping concepts with strong appeal to eradicate the inertia, which affects the institution of the civil service. In all civil service systems, strong leadership means something different. For example, countries with central executive functions – such as Britain, France and the United States, leaders in the political arena must be actively involved in order for the system to function, particularly if the function is a reference to change. In countries where the executive functions by mutual consent, any radical move from the status quo by the leadership, of the coalition, might create the opposite effect, and mobilize opposition instead of support for the reforms. Any reforms that are undertaken in those jurisdictions must be done outside the purview of the public or in secret. The leaders in these countries must have the gift of diplomacy, insight, the ability to build coalition, charisma and the ability to recognize when they are ahead of the game and not overplay their hand by seeking more power. Timing is of the essence when pursuing reform. Leadership, in societies where the executive operates by mutual consent must have all of these vital qualities (Toonen, 2001, 188-189).

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In all of the jurisdictions under study, fiscal constraint and the desire to improve and raise the standard of services offered to citizens by the public sector were the common factors with respect to public sector reform. These two common factors did not, in any way, eclipse the importance of the factors that are noted in the preceding paragraphs. It is clear, then, that if these jurisdictions are to preserve what they have for present, future and even their reluctant citizens (Denhardt Janet V and Denhardt 2003, 59-60), there must be genuine efforts made to reform their public sectors. A few general definition of public sector reform will now be undertaken. What is public sector reform? “The purpose of public sector reform is to fulfill the constitutional mandate of the State, which includes good governance and the promotion of national development. The public sector ought to function efficiently and effectively at all times given the challenges in both the internal and external environments. All institutions of the State ought to operate in concert and this can only happen if their activities are driven by a shared vision for national development.” 5 “Public sector reform is a systematic process of ongoing strategic initiatives, in response to change resulting from internal and external sources. The ultimate goal of public sector reform is to improve effectiveness and efficiency at both operational and service delivery areas.”6 Public sector reform (PSR7) is about improving the way that the public service is managed. The public sector may be overextended – attempting to do much with too few
Excerpted from a speech delivered by Kingsley L. Black, President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers at a Public Sector Reform Forum for Senior Public Officers, Executives of Unions, and Staff Associations on Friday, 28 Oct., 2004. 6 Excerpted from a speech delivered by Roosevelt Finlayson who served as Forum Facilitator at a Public Sector Reform Forum for Senior Public Officers, Executives of Unions, and Staff Associations on Friday, 28 Oct., 2004. 7 The term “civil service reform” (CSR) is also commonly used. CSR is one element of PSR.
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resources. It may be poorly organized; its decision-making processes may be irrational; staff may be mismanaged; accountability may be weak; public programs may be poorly designed and public services may be poorly delivered. Public sector reform is the attempt to fix these problems (Schacter 2000, 1). A definition of government and an examination of why government exists will be addressed. What is government and why does it exist? The New Age Encyclopedia defines government as the “means by which a state expresses its will” and the “direction and control of the actions and affairs of a body of men”. “The definition of government can be summarized as the power and acts of politically-constituted authorities which make and enforce laws and interact with other sovereign powers, as a nation” (Symonette-Wells Lois, 2002, 19). There are three branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial. The legislature, often referred to as a “parliament” or “national assembly” or “congress”, has exclusively authority to enact laws. The judiciary is a system of courts of laws, which is responsible for enforcing the laws enacted by the legislature. The executive implements the government’s policies. It normally consists of the political leadership – the president or prime minister and his or her cabinet secretaries or ministers – and a set of public “departments” or “ministries” and “agencies” whose staff is on the public payroll and which report ultimately to a cabinet minister or secretary (Schacter, 2000, 1-2). Why do governments exist?

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There are certain goods and services that all citizens value – defense, diplomacy, law and order, property rights, street lighting, public sanitation, pest control, public health, to name a few – which market forces, on their own, would either under-provide or not provide at all. Economists refer to these as “public goods.” Only governments can be relied upon to provide them (Schacter, 2000, 1). Beyond government’s undisputed role as a provider of public goods, there are controversial questions about the economic and social role of the public sector. Opinions are (and always will be) divided on how active and influential a participant government should be in a country’s economic and social life. How much industrial output should be produced by the public sector? How should the government regulate the private sector? How should it address economic inequality? How should it pursue a range of issues related to social justice, environmental protection, etc? The way that countries deal with these questions has an impact on the appropriate size, role, functions and structure of the public sector (Schacter, 2000, 1). The next segment will describe what the public sector looks like.

What does the public sector look like?8 The “public sector” is usually synonymous with “government”. In this paper, the focus is on the executive branch. From this perspective, the public sector is made up mainly of government departments, ministries and agencies that are staffed by public
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See Appendix on Page 55

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servants. With this in mind, it should be noted that every government, in a democracy, codifies its promises to and covenant with the people whom it serves. It follows then, that if any government is to carry out its mandate with respect to its promises in accordance with its covenant with the people that it serves, it needs an efficient and vibrant public sector. The public sector is embedded in the executive branch of government. The entire public sector reports ultimately to the head of state, although its day-to-day operation is normally the responsibility of the head of government. In some countries, heads of state and government are combined in one office (e.g. the President of the United States). In other countries, the two positions are distinct, with the head of state limited to a ceremonial role (e.g. in Canada and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas where the Prime Minister is head of government and the Governor General is the ceremonial head of state). In still other countries – France and its former colonies, for example – both the head of state (President) and head of government (Prime Minister) play substantive political and policy roles. The head of government governs with the advice of his/her cabinet, which is made up, for the most part, of the political heads (often referred to as “Ministers” or “Secretaries”) of government departments or ministries. Cabinet has both a political and policy/managerial function. Cabinet is the country’s most powerful political institution or forum where the country’s top political officers address, away from public scrutiny, matters related to advancing the government’s political agenda, managing political

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opposition, etc. It also serves as a more technical, policy/managerial function because cabinet ministers are also the political heads of government ministries and departments. Cabinet is therefore a forum for addressing major policy issues that arise in particular government portfolios (Cabinet Office, 1995, 1-5). The public sector is divided into organizational units, each with a particular functional specialization and related set of responsibilities and authorities. Broadly there are two major types of organizational units: central agencies and line ministries or departments. There are also various types of specialized agencies and state-owned enterprises (Schacter, 2000, 2). Line ministries or departments are specialized around programs and policies that relate to a particular economic or social sector, e.g., Ministry of Industry or Department of Industry, Ministry of Health or Department of Health, etc. Each ministry or department is headed by a high-ranking political officer – a “Minister” and a (Permanent) “Secretary.”9 Central agencies are specialized around functions that affect the entire government. For example, a budget office (Ministry of Finance) manages the annual budget-making process; a cabinet office manages the flow of policy and program proposals from all departments into the cabinet for decisions; the Ministry (Department)

Permanent Secretaries (in former colonies of Great Britain that are now members of the Commonwealth) are the administrative head of ministries and departments within the public service. They are the principal advisor to the political head (minister) and also the chief financial officer. They are advised and assisted by a cadre of professional and technical officers. In the United States (Republican) form of government, members of the cabinet are known as Secretaries.

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of Finance sets budget allocation levels that affect resources available for ministries or departments; a planning agency develops proposals on major investment initiatives that might be implemented by line ministries or departments (Schacter, 2000, 2). In recent years, there has been an increasing tendency for governments to take certain well-defined functions out of line ministries and departments and place them in specialized agencies, for example, customs, tourism and revenue agencies are good examples of this trend. These specialized agencies often have greater flexibility to manage their human and financial resources than do line ministries and departments. In return, they are normally subject to tighter performance standards. Specialized agencies may report to the departmental bureaucracy or directly to the Minister (Schacter, 2000, 2). Attention will be now given to what the public service does. What does the public sector do? As noted earlier, this paper will concentrate on the executive branch. The executive branch designs and implements policies and programs that aim to fulfill the government’s broad economic and social objectives. In particular, the public sector makes economic and social policies. The public sector makes and enforces policies that cover virtually everything the government does. Policies developed by the public sector serve the government of the day, reflecting its social and economic goals. The public sector designs and implements public programs. Policies are realized through the design and delivery of public programs involving delivery of public

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services, production of goods, or transfer of resources to individuals, organizations or other levels of government. Government also uses regulation – in areas such as workplace standards, consumer protection, the environment, foreign investment, and transportation safety – as a tool for achieving policy goals. The public sector raises revenue. The government must raise funds in order to implement its programs. The public sector collects taxes and user fees that are levied on citizens and companies. Government also uses tax policy as a means to pursue social and economic goals. For example, governments may pursue social goals by providing tax breaks to certain segments of the population. They may also use tax provisions to encourage certain forms of investment or industrial development. The public sector manages accountability. Citizens demand accountability in return for powers granted to the executive to raise and spend revenue. The public sector responds by enforcing internal accountability measures and by reporting to citizens on how money is spent and on the success (and failure) of public programs. Governments typically create and sustain independent public institutions of

accountability that are empowered to oversee the government’s actions and demand explanations. Key institutions of accountability may include auditors’ general, public ombudsmen, the judiciary, the legislature, human rights commissions, and public

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accounts committee10 etc. The next section of this paper will focus on efforts at public sector reform in the United States. Public sector reform in the United States When examining public sector reform in the United States, it has to be seen through two separate lenses: (1) the federal level and (2) the state level. A look will now be taken at public sector reform at the federal level. Public sector reform at the federal level The civil service, in the United States, was first introduced into public administration in 1893. Its introduction, into public administration, was to ensure that there was “fitness and fairness in government personnel administration” (Walters, 2002, 5). The system that was created to prevent hiring and firing based on the patronage system. Additionally, the system was introduced to protect public officers against the “potential political consequences of their work”. At the same time, aspects of civil service or its “merit system” has been put in place in the 50 states (Walters, 2002, 5). When addressing public sector reform in the United States, there are several integral factors that must be given due consideration. Among those factors are the following: (1) The size and institutional structure of the civil service; (2) Reform history and legislation; and (3) Cultural change. The size and institutional structure of the civil service
The public accounts committee, within the Westminster system of governance, is a creature of the constitution and the parliamentary system. This committee is usually chaired by the opposition. The opposition has the majority of members on this committee. The public accounts committee is supposed to be the “watch dog” of how government spends from the public purse.
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It must be agreed that the public service upon which all Americans rely is indeed large. However, when given the scope of the services that the public service offers, it is not as large as the average citizen assumes that it is. There are 19 million public servants in the United States, which represents over 14 per cent of the entire work force. This work force stood at 134 million people in 1996. The public sector work force is broken down as follows: (1) 2.8 million work for the federal government; (2) 5 million are employed by state government; and (3) Nearly 12 million occupies positions at the local government level. When compared to other countries, the public sector in the United States is relatively small11 (Nigro and Nigro, 2000, 2-3). During the 1990s, the federal work force was reduced by 330,000 employees. This reduction made the federal work force the smallest in thirty-one years and (as a share of civilian employment) the smallest since 1931(Public Service Report CANADA, 1999, 3). The system of government in the United States is (Republic) Presidential. Reform history and legislation Modern public sector reform, in the United States, began in 1978 with the passage and enactment of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA). The Act reorganized the old Civil Service Commission into three separate organizations: (1) the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), (2) the Merit System Protection Board

Australia 7,943,000 (16.6%), Canada 13,292,000 (19.6%), France 21, 744,000 (24.8%), Germany 35, 894,000 (15.9%), Italy 20,022,000 (16.1%), Japan 64,530,000 (6.0%), Spain 11,760,000 (15.2%), Sweden 3,926,000 (32.0%), United Kingdom 25,579,000 (14.4%). The percentages represent Government Employment when compared to Total Employment. The source of this information is The New Public Administration by Lloyd G. Nigro and Felix A. Nigro. Page 3.

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(MSPB), and (3) the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) was followed by several major efforts at reform. Among these initiatives were the following: (1) 1990 The Chief Financial Officers Act, which was implemented in 1991. This Act required organizations to appoint a chief financial officer, who would be accountable to the chief executive for the organization’s financial affairs. (2) In 1992 approximately 67 government agencies and 24 government corporations completed their first audited financial statements. (3) In 1993, the National Performance Review (NPR) led to Customer Service Standards and Performance Based Organizations, the coming into being of the Presidential Management Council and Government Performance Result Act (Public Service Report CANADA, 1999, 3-4). The purpose of this program (NPR) was to review and remove red tape (Aberbach and Rockman, 2001, 25). The NPR led to the amendment of a series of laws and regulations. The emphasis was shifted toward government efficiency and away from the role of government. As a consequence, in 1998 about 85 laws were passed on the recommendation of the NPR. Among the laws were the following: (1) Government Performance and Results Act (1993), Government Management Reform Act (1994), Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (1994), Paperwork Reduction Act (1995), Federal Acquisition Reform Act (1996), and the Information Technology Management Reform Act (1996). These laws gave greater autonomy to government agencies. Additionally, the National Partnership for Reinventing Government (1998) reinvented processes

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within agencies to improve service while reducing costs. As a byproduct, agencies in the federal government began to reinvent themselves so as to become more customeroriented and result-driven (Public Service Report CANADA, 1999, 3-4). The NPR, which was the precursor of a number of reform recommendations and laws (noted above), was based on four key principles: (1) Cutting red tape, (2) Putting customers first, (3) Empowering employees to obtain results and (4) Going back to basics. The first three of these tenets of the NPR dealt with the ‘how’ of government and the fourth tenet had clear and strong implications for the ‘what’ of government (Aberbach and Rockman, 2001, 25). The NPR has introduced a strategy entitled “Forever Changing Government (1999-2000)” which emphasizes inter-agency cooperation, discussion that balance the interest of all stakeholders, electronic government, transformation of agencies that have the most contact with the American citizens and taxpayers and the advertisement of changes already made (Public Service Report CANADA, 1999, 3). Culture change The public sector reforms are a reflection of American big business. The cultural transformation that was implemented was intended to lead to the introduction of a performance culture in a competitive context. Basically, this means being more concerned with achieving results and providing the citizens and residents with quality services than with simply following procedures.

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Of all of the documents that were introduced to engender reform, The National Performance Review (the Gore report) was designed to change the way Americans saw the administration and the services that it offered. It is important again to underscore the elaboration of the four main avenues of change identified in the NPR review: (1) Reducing the bureaucracy: cutting down on regulation, transferring certain powers to the states and the municipalities, and decentralizing personnel management and the procurement of goods and services; (2) Making clients the top priority: improving the quality of services by offering citizens and residents a choice of products and services in a context of competition between government organizations; (3) Providing employees with the necessary tools to be more effective, as well as offering faster and cheaper products and services that meet users’ needs; and (4) Better targeting consumers’ needs: reducing the number of programs and adapting some of them to fit present conditions (Public Service Report CANADA, 1999, 5). The initiatives of the NPR as they impact public sector reform at the federal level in the United States, while they are important and are of some use to the process, the important question is: What do the public (citizens) want the public sector at the federal level to accomplish? When this is known, the American public sector can focus in a real way on the most efficient manner to achieve reform of the public sector. Public sector reform in Texas, Georgia and Florida It has been opined that the National Performance Review (1993) made hundreds of specific recommendations, which impacted change in the public sector at the federal

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government level. The NPR was also responsible for the passage of a number of laws, which also impacted public sector reform at the federal level. The popular view is that the National Commission on the Public Service (1989) and the National Commission on the State and Local Public Service (1993) similarly impacted and identified the numerous challenges that confronted the American public service at the state and local government levels (Romzek and Ingraham 1994, 322-334). The Texas, Georgia and Florida experience with public sector reform will now be examined. Within the United States, three states have eliminated or curtailed their civil service systems. Texas has disbanded its Texas Merit Council (TMC). By so doing, Texas has returned control of most personnel management to state agencies. Georgia, on the other hand, passed sweeping civil service reform legislation in July 1996. The implication of the Georgia reform is that all state employees hired since July 1996 serve at will. Florida, in 2001, collapsed its state job classifications and eliminated civil service protection for managers and supervisors and seniority for all state employees (Emery Repsher, 2002). The following section will set out the reason(s) that the Walters report offers for reorganization of the Texas, Georgia and Florida’s civil service. Generally speaking, it appeared as if the civil service in the states in question (as it appeared to be in the majority of American states) became a wall that has become impenetrable and impossible to scale, thus blocking the development of a modern, efficient human resource system within government (Walters, 2002, 7).

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In the state of Texas, it appeared as if the mandated central civil service system was never subscribed to by all of the various state agencies. The state legislature deemed the civil service system, as it existed in 1985 as useless. It was on this basis that the civil service was reorganized in Texas. According to Walters, Georgia’s reform came about because the governor of the state realized that the rules that were initially enacted “for a clear and noble purpose” had become (over the decades) “obstacles to efficiency.” It was opined that the civil service system was used to protect incompetent office holders. The internal “customers” of the personnel system had become tired of having to deal with a bureaucracy that was unresponsive to their needs. The civil service system was so bad that persons within the system took delight in providing the governor and the legislature with information about the woeful incompetence and recalcitrance of a system that had become a law unto itself. Walters uses the example of the request to hire tow truck drivers to assist with the smooth flow of traffic during the 1996 Olympic Games. The (Georgia) Merit System could not or would not respond in a timely manner to expedite the request because there was no appropriate title for the position. It took the action of the legislature to have the positions filled. It became obvious that the reform in the civil service in Georgia was an idea whose time had come. One of the reasons for the Florida experience with the reorganization of the civil service was that when Governor Jeb Bush served as Florida’s Secretary of Commerce he had agitated for reform in his area of responsibility.

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The Florida Council of 100, which was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush, was of the view that the running of Florida’s civil service needed to be more in line with private sector practices. It was felt that the management practices of the public sector were “light years” away from that of the private sector. The Council of 100 saw Florida’s human resources system as a stumbling block to efficiency and effectiveness. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was that state employees could only be removed from office after a “complicated web of restrictions called ‘due process’.” In truth and in fact, state employees had “property rights” when it came to their employment in the civil service. The practice of bumping12 was another source of annoyance to the Council of 100. The governor and the legislature were on the same page when it came to reforming Florida’s civil service. A look at what these reforms mean to public employees and public managers will now be taken. The implications for public employees and public managers appear to be clear: Those employees who perform their tasks efficiently and with distinction need have no fear or concern about their tenure in the civil service. It is clear that the slack and the inefficient are the ones who must be fearful of losing their jobs through redundancy or outright termination.

This is a practice that uses seniority as the principal retention criterion. It is a practice which allows a longer serving tenured employee whose position has been eliminated to take the job of a more recently hired employee occupying an equivalent or lower title in the same job classification. This would include any job classification the employee had held for 6 months or more at some point in his or her career.

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The objectives of the reforms in Texas, Georgia and Florida were aimed at creating an efficient, effective and responsive public service. If public employees subscribe to these basic concepts, then they are “home free”. The public manager, on the other hand, is subject to the same regimen as the public employee. However, the public manager will find that when it comes to managing, leading, disciplining, counseling, coaching and yes, terminating employees, they cannot hide behind the inefficiencies of the central system. Public managers routinely looked to and depended upon the central system when having to deal with the controversial, “sticky” and unpopular issues related to their job function. The reforms in the civil service of Texas, Georgia and Florida are an indication that the “buck” stops at the public managers’ desk. Generally the public employee and the public manager are being held accountable for their action or inaction. In the concluding segment, some of the potential problems that may arise under the new systems will be highlighted. In the reform efforts of Texas, Georgia and Florida, some preservation will occur. On the other hand, it is possible that some situations will occur that will not be in keeping with the spirit of the reform process. What, then, can possibly go wrong within these systems where reform has taken place? (1) The prospect for removing highly

paid employees increases. This has the potential to impact morale and interest in public service generally (Walters, 2002, 39-45). (2) Concern has been expressed about the fact that human resource administrators may come under new pressure from agency

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heads to accommodate non-patronage hiring and pay requests. (3) There is the pervasive fear of the old system of political patronage hiring raising its head once again. (4) Managers, under the reforms within the civil service have been empowered to perform many of the functions that were once a part of the central system. It is feared that some managers will use their newfound power to retaliate against those employees they do not favour, and ensure that their friends and favourites be rewarded unfairly. (5) Additionally, there is the feeling that “quality control” will be lost because of a lack of an oversight central authority (Walters, 2002, 43-44). (6) In Georgia, if classified

employees wish to be promoted to a position that is unclassified, they will lose all benefits and seniority, and in effect will become an “at will” employee. All of these problems will have some implication for the reformed civil service in Texas, Georgia and Florida. Final comments on public sector reform in the United States Being employed in the civil service at the federal or state level should present very little concern for the efficient and committed employee. The efficient and committed public employee, generally, has come to terms with what is seen as their life’s work. Public employees, who are proficient and sensitive, will perform their duties without fear wherever they are deployed. Weighing all the facts and recognition of the general principles of efficiency, proficiency, courtesy, and sensitivity the public employee should have confidence that the fore-mentioned qualities will sustain their employment in the civil service whether it is at the federal or state level.

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Public sector reform in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas This segment of the paper will present information about: (1) The size and institutional structure of the civil service; (2) The legal framework in which the public sector operates; (3) Early government administration in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas; (4) Attempts at public service reform; (5) The Promise of full public service reform; (6) The importance of public service reform; and finally (7) Recommendations for public service reform.

The size and institutional structure of the civil service Due to general world economic conditions, in 1992, the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas placed a moratorium on hiring in the public sector. This moratorium was still in effect at the time of the writing of this paper. The moratorium was partially lifted to hire persons in certain entry level positions in 2005/2006. Prior to the declaration of the moratorium, the public sector had a compliment of 18,000-20,000 persons on the establishment list. There has been no reduction in the number of persons who are employed in the public sector except for retirements, resignations and deaths. It appears that there has been no appreciable change in the number of persons employed in the public sector. From time to time, (there are) certain essential ministries and departments, in the public sector, may need to add to their compliment of staff. These areas include nursing, the police and the defence force, teaching, immigration,

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customs, and at the prison. The request for additional manpower by these ministries and departments must be justified before approval is granted. Generally speaking, the government very rarely denies requests for additional staff in these essential areas. The Bahamas is a parliamentary and constitutional monarchy, which is recognizes H.M. Queen Elizabeth as head of state. The Queen is represented by the Governor-General. All persons hired in the civil service are hired in the name of the Governor-General, i.e., they are servants of the Crown.

The legal framework in which the public sector operates The public sector, in the Bahamas, functions within a legal framework. The legal documents that govern the careers of public sector employees are: (1) The

Constitution, (2) Public Service Act, (3) Public Service Regulations, (4) The Employment Act 2001, (5) The Minimum Wage Act 2001, (6) The Health and Safety Act 2001, and (7) General Orders. Early government administration The administration of the public service, in the Bahamas, from 1729-1963 was based on practices in the mother country (Great Britain). Public service administration was a modified version of the system (in practice) that was set up in London and was transplanted in the colonial territories around the world. These territories were administered by the colonial office in London. This system was not appropriate for territories so far away from the colonial office in London, which formulated conditions of

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service for territories around the world whose needs were as diverse as their numbers. There was no rational system of recruitment and “patronage” was rampant as the majority of persons appointed to the public service were, for the most part, friends of the members of the House of Assembly (Symonette-Wells Lois, 2002, 51-52). The first organized system of public administration – the Board system began in the nineteenth century. The Board of Education was established in 1835 and the Board of Health in 1850. The Public Board Act of 1911 gave legitimacy to the Boards that were related to the work of the various government departments. These Boards were accountable to the government (headed by a Royal Governor13) and to the House of Assembly for the expenditure of funds that was allocated by the Legislature. These Boards could enter into contracts and employ personnel14 because there was no central oversight agency (Symonette-Wells Lois, 2002, 52). Politicians usually headed these Boards. Today, many of these boards are chaired by non-politicians. These chairpersons are generally members and supporters of the government that appointed them. However, there are boards that are chaired and have members who are not supporters of the government that appointed them. It is hoped that this is a reflection of the development of some level of political maturity. Constitutional reform in 1964 brought about the introduction of ministerial government, and thus changed the format and operation of the public service. For the
The Royal Governor was appointed by the Crown, hence the nomenclature. These governors wielded tremendous power with respect to the affairs of the Bahamas. 14 This practice is similar to the reform that took place in Texas. In this regard, The Bahamas was avante garde even in the Nineteenth Century.
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first time (in the history of the Bahamas) there was the establishment of the Public Service Commission, Police Service Commission, and Judicial Service Commission. These commissions were charged with the responsibility for vetting and interviewing persons who applied for employment in the public service. The establishment of the Service Commissions was to prevent the “wholesale” politicization of the public service, as was the case prior to the constitutional reforms of 1964. At the same time, there was the creation of the Department of Public Service, which has oversight agency for the human resource function of the public service. The authority, of the Service Commissions and the Department of Public Service, was enhanced and entrenched by the constitution of 1973 (Bahamas Independence Order, 1973). The period 1964-1973 was in a sense the first meaningful attempts at public service reform15. As I noted earlier, the Department of Public Service exercises oversight of all ministries and departments in the public service. In addition to being a facilitator, referee and regulatory body, the Department of Public Service processes personnel matters, which are reserved to the Governor-General who acts on the advice of the Service Commissions. The Permanent Secretary in the Department of Public Service is also referred to as the Establishment Secretary, and in a sense is the head of the public

This reform did not result in an efficient public service. In fact, it resulted in the bureaucratization of the public service.

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service. The Department of Public Service deals with all establishment matters 16 that have not been devolved to the ministries and departments within the public service.

Attempts at public sector reform In recent times (1996-1998), the Department of Public Service, in an effort to signal a new round of reforms in the public service, has devolved some of its functions to the various government ministries and departments. They include the following: • • • • • • • • • Salary advances Medical loans Mileage allowance Overtime not over 35 hours per month Extended sick leave Vacation leave for maternity purposes Special leave with pay up to a maximum of six days Attendance at meetings and conferences overseas without financial implications, and Crossing efficiency bars with respect to salary scales.

Other efforts at public sector reform include but are not limited to the following: • •
16

Introduction of new performance appraisal system Customer service initiative at the Registrar General’s Office

Establishment matters include the following: (1) Ensuring adequate staffing for the ministries and departments within the public service; (2) Grading and classification of posts with respect to levels of responsibility, job difficulty and qualifications necessary for appointments within the public service; (3) Assessing levels and determining rates of remuneration, salaries, fees and allowances; (4) Advising ministries and departments on matters related to efficient organization and work flow; (5) Determining all other terms and conditions of service such as leave, passages, and contractual matters; (6) Monitoring staff relations and negotiations with unions; (7) Participating in allocation of office accommodation, and ancillary leases; (8) Providing assistance to government corporations with respect to formulation of conditions of service, pension benefits and other related matters; and (9) All personnel matters that are constitutionally reserved to the Governor-General acting on the advice of the three service commissions.

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• • • • • • • • •

Reform of the Royal Bahamas Police Force17 Privatization Contracting out Employing contracted workers Corporatization Budget and service cuts Decentralization Redesign of public sector structure, and Public sector and private sector partnerships

These attempts at reform are minimal when compared to what is happening with respect to public service reform around the world, particularly in the United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The promise of and commitment to full public sector reform The public service in the Bahamas does not do well when it comes to serving the public. For the most part, this is due to inefficiency, which comes as a consequence of poor training (The Bahamas Journal, 24-26 May 2002). The Prime Minister, of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, speaking on the 21 st November 2003, at the 48th National General Convention of the governing Progressive Liberal Party, with respect to public sector reform said: “The restructuring of our public service sector is already in progress and in 2004, after the necessary consultations would have taken place, you can expect additional reforms
The most extensive efforts at public sector reform in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas have taken place in the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF). In 1999, the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas commissioned the CDR International An Armor Holdings Company based in the United Kingdom to conduct an extensive review of the RBPF. This review included: (1) Leadership and Direction; (2) Management Skills; (3) Accountability; (4) Special services and private fee work; (5) Public relations; (6) Criminal justice issues; (7) Information technology provision and Performance management; (8) Buildings; (9) Manpower review; (10) Human resource issues; and (11) Management of crime issues. The report of the CDR contained 140 recommendations. The RBPF has already commenced the implementation of many of the recommendations made by the CDR.
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aimed at accelerating the modernization, and improving the efficiency of the public service in all its branches.” On the 28th October 2004, while addressing a Public Sector Forum for Senior Public Officers, Executives of Unions and Staff Associations, the Prime Minister stated: “…we must identify and agree upon what needs to be changed. Five areas have been already identified as of urgent importance: (1) Improvement of the capacity of the Government for policy design and decision making; (2) Monitoring implementation of cabinet decisions; (3) Support to further development of e-government; (4) Strengthening of the investment project cycle management; and (5) Creation of a public assets management system. In the same address, the Prime Minister made it clear that his administration is committed to public sector reform by stating: “I have committed the Government to reform of the pubic sector. It is time to move. Each day as I work as Prime Minister, I am struck by the urgent necessity for change in the way the public sector functions.” Thus it seems that the stage is set for further public sector reform in The Bahamas. The importance of public sector reform in The Bahamas “Given the fact that the Bahamas hosts over 4 million tourists per year and operates one of the premier financial centres in the world, it is critical for us to ensure that our public and private sectors are aligned to strengthen our comparative advantage and to refine our competitive edge as we compete in the global arena to maximize our efforts to develop our people and our country.”18 Reformation in the public service, in the Bahamas, is crucial to its economic and social survival and growth. Therefore, if the Bahamas is to preserve what it has for

Excerpted from an address delivered by Mr. Kingsley L. Black, President, Bahamas Union of Teachers on Friday, 28 Oct. 2004 at a Public Sector Forum for Senior Public Officers, Executives of Unions and Staff Associations.

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present, future and even its reluctant citizens (Denhardt and Denhardt, 2003, 59-60) there must be genuine efforts made to reform the public sector. As noted earlier, every government codifies its promises to and covenant with people whom it serves. It follows then, if the government, any government, is to carry out its mandate with respect to its promises in accordance with its covenant with the people that it serves; it needs an efficient and vibrant public service. The government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is no different. If the efforts (of the government to encourage the international business community to invest in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas) are to bear positive results, there is a need for a public service that is sleek, fit and trim. In this way, the public service of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas will be able to meet the demands that will be placed upon it when the FTAA (and other global challenges) becomes a reality. The public service will be better equipped to serve its national (and international) stakeholders. The Commonwealth of The Bahamas cannot and must not continue to put “new wine into old skins”! This is precisely what the Commonwealth of The Bahamas will be doing if iterative efforts are not made to refurbish and reform the public service. The next segment will present some recommendations for public sector reform in The Bahamas. Recommendations for public sector reform These recommendations that are presented are not as sweeping and drastic as those that occurred at the federal level or in Texas, Georgia and Florida. The

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recommendations are not as drastic as the recommendation of Walter Broadnex, whose prescription for reforming the New York civil service was to “blow it up” (Walters, 2002, 12). These recommendations are reasonable, possible and doable. (1) The ability of an Incoming administration to have a choice “Ministers have a short time to get their political agenda accomplished, the one for which they were elected and for which the constitution also provides a remit. The organizational structure that we now have seems to have a predisposed and institutional resistance to the new person coming in from the outside and to that agenda. It is for that reason that many argue that there needs to be a reform to allow the Minister to bring with him the cadre of operatives that can help him quickly execute his job and interface properly with the public service. In Britain, there has been significant reform in this area.”19 Chief among the reforms in the public service should be the ability of an incoming administration to have a choice as to who will serve with them as senior officers. This choice should include qualified and suitable political appointees for the (period) term of the administration. These appointees, however, must be “schooled” in the

idiosyncrasies (culture) of the public service. This “schooling” will assist in preventing these appointees from ignoring public service regulations. Ignorance of public service essential protocols could lead to embarrassment of the administration (government) (Meier, 2000, 201-202; 210).

(2) Non-performing civil servants
Excerpted from an address delivered by the Honourable Fred Mitchell MP, Minister for the Public Service on Friday, 28 Oct. 2004 at a Public Sector Forum for Senior Public Officers, Executives of Unions and Staff Associations.
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Reform in the public service does not threaten the security of those persons who have given years of productive service. It means, however, shaking up those public servants who boast of having many years of service in the public service and have done nothing but sit like a bump on a log. These public officers for the most part are uncooperative, unproductive and are chronic miscreants, who simply depend upon their longevity and “politics” to rescue them. Sadly enough, whenever there is a general increase in salary or any other benefits, these obstinate and recalcitrant officers receive the benefits and the increases in the same amounts as their colleagues who have performed their duties satisfactorily and with distinction. Reform in the public service must reflect a method that places these public officers on probation in order to determine whether they can be rehabilitated. Failure to be rehabilitated, on their part, should result in them being declared unclassified (Walters, 2002, 22-28). These officers will, however, still maintain their civil service benefits. This action would give the government the option of having them removed from the public service if their performance does not improve within a specified period of time. (3) Strengthening the rules regarding politics in the public service Reform in the public service must strengthen the rules and regulations to deal with those public officers who allow their political preference to colour their behaviour towards internal and external stakeholders. Additionally, reform in the public service must address those public officers, who obfuscate the efforts of the government in the delivery of service to the Bahamian public. According to the present rules and

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regulations governing the public service, an incoming government is obligated to secure the employment of all public officers. This is supported by the concept of security of tenure to which all public officers are entitled (Walters, 2002, 30-34). The practice of the concept and rules of security of tenure need to be modified because it is akin to the “property rights” to which the Walter’s report refers. Any reform in the public service rules and regulations, in this regard, must include a concrete and direct policy to counteract the behaviour of public officers who see their role as that of running interference with the government’s delivery of its promises in an effort to keep its covenant with the Bahamian people. Let there be no doubt about the fact that all established public officers are entitled to security of tenure. It must be clearly understood; however, that security of tenure cannot be expected where it is proven that public officers deliberately or otherwise set out to obfuscate the legitimate efforts of the government of the day. Public officers must be mindful that government is a “business” (not in the same sense that the New Public Administration defines it). Therefore civil servants must understand that those who have been elected to serve the Bahamian people have been mandated to operate the “business” with their assistance. (Peters 1996, 2000, 50-76; Denhardt and Denhardt, 2003, 3-5). (4) Appointment of officers within the public service by an incoming administration

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Reform in the public service of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas must, by regulation and practice, give the an incoming administration some leverage in appointing or choosing from among public officers (who may be junior to some) who are qualified and are known to be capable of ensuring that the policies of the administration are carried out with alacrity and successfully. Where the administration cannot supersede a senior officer, the rules and regulation of reform must allow the government to be able to appoint another qualified senior officer, who though he or she may not be in charge, will be mandated to assist in keeping the administration’s program on track. (5) Public officers’ exposure to the private sector Reform in the public service must include allowing public officers, who have been identified for promotion to very senior positions (within the public service) to be assigned for periods of not less than three months and not more than six months to one of the successful multinational private sector companies. These officers will be jointly schooled, observed and examined (by the private sector company and the government) to determine their ability to perform according to the demands and standards of the private sector. Upon completion of this portion of their training, these officers will have to successfully undergo the remainder of the training in the public service before being promoted (Meier, 2000, 210). I firmly believe that reform in the public sector should be reflective of this policy. (6) Awarding bonuses, sabbaticals and increments (incentives)

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Public sector reform must include ways in which the system can award bonuses, sabbaticals (particularly in the field of education to encourage writing and research) and improved incremental increases in emoluments for public officers (Nigro and Nigro, 2000, 139-146; Holoviak and Sipoff 1987, 33-36). These incentives would encourage public officers to perform above and beyond the call of duty. This of course does not mean that many of them are not doing so at present. This reform should be crafted in such a way that department heads and supervisors are not permitted to reward their friends and favourites by bloating and padding reports so that they benefit without meeting the requirements (Cayer, Joseph N, 2003,167-178; Nigro and Nigro, 2000, 122137). (7) Abolishment of the Department of Public Service The Department of Public Service, in its present form, should be abolished. The functions of the Department of Public Service should be vested in the ministries and departments of the public service. This would reduce the Department of Public Service to a body that simply ensures that all public service hiring and terminations are carried out under the same terms and conditions (Walters, 2002, 11-33). (8) Elimination of political patronage Additionally, political patronage in hiring, which to some degree, has become entrenched in the public service also impacts the level and quality of service delivered to the citizens of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. This practice must be curtailed or eliminated. Where it becomes necessary, every effort must be made to ensure that only

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those persons who are qualified and suitable for positions should be hired. Public sector reform demands the removal of extraneous influences that interfere with the delivery of efficient service to the public. This would make the public sector more efficient, and at the same time create more jobs in the private sector (Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Public Service, 2003).

(9) Further recommendations for public sector reform In addition to the recommendations noted above, Mr. John A. Pinder, President of the Bahamas Public Services Union, while addressing the Forum on Public sector Reform for Senior Public Officers, Executives of Unions, and Staff Associations on Friday, 28 Oct. 2004, made a number of recommendations for public sector reform. Among the recommendations made by Mr. Pinder are the following: • • • • • • • Computerized systems throughout the public sector Succession and career planning Introduction of flexi time Finding the right organizational fit with respect to staff placement Introduction of better records management Revision and introduction of laws to facilitate reform efforts Recruitment, appointment to include restructuring of promotional assessment exercise and discipline Final comments on public sector reform in the Bahamas “We must all remember that reform is not like an apple on the shelf that you buy from Supervalu. You buy it, consume it, and then it is gone. This (public sector reform) is a

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continuous process. One that never stop. Change is constant. But this generation of leaders must do their part to continue the process.”20 Public sector reform, in the Bahamas, is still in its embryonic stage. There remains much to be accomplished before the embryo comes to full term. Even when the embryo comes to full term, there will be new public sector reform to pursue. Indeed, the efforts at public sector reform are iterative. In order to accomplish the first round of meaningful public sector reform, there needs to be the passage of relevant legislation and the formulation of accompanying regulations. The accompanying regulation will give “teeth” to the legislation, which will further strengthen and solidify the public sector reforms. The Bahamas is in a unique position to benefit from the best practices with respect to public sector reform in other countries that have traveled this path. Kingsley L. Black, President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers, speaking at a Public Sector Forum for Senior Public Officers, Executives of Unions and Staff Associations said, “21 st century best practices ought to permeate human resource management in the public sector.” The nature of public sector reform dictates that the Bahamas will travel with jurisdictions that have already had the experience of dealing with public sector reform because as mentioned earlier it is an iterative process. These efforts by the Bahamas at public sector reform will assist in inculcating in public sector employees a sense of efficiency, productivity and courtesy. As a
The Honourable Fred Mitchell, MP and Minister for the Public Service in an address at a Public Sector Forum for Senior Public Officers, Executives of Unions and Staff Associations on Friday, 28 Oct. 2004. (Public sector was inserted.)
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consequence, public sector employees will be imbued with a sense of urgency with respect to the delivery of service to the public that is efficient, timely and courteous. Efficient, timely and courteous service to the public is the hallmark of effective governance. General Conclusion The tension that exists between continuity and change creates enormous challenges. It is essential that public sector agencies employees and government reformers become aware of the tension. The expanded scope and complexity of the environment in which public organizations operate is one of the challenges. This complexity requires a comprehensive approach and as such partial solutions or “tendering” will not suffice and may do more to exacerbate complicate the problems of responsiveness and efficiency. Unfunded mandates have created increasing challenges. This is a call for government to find new ways to find solutions to old problems. These problems were previously handled by aid from outside sources. Government must find ways to solve new problems in the face of shrinking resources both human and financial. In meeting these challenges, there is a need for learning organizations - agencies whose boundaries are permeable and flexible so as to force and make provisions for new levels of complexity and uncertainty. Government organizations must have the capacity to adapt successfully to the changing context in which it must operate. There must be recognition that the

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administrative structure and policies that were created for centralized command-andcontrol are no longer capable of achieving success in an environment that is fraught with change. Entrepreneurial organizations must be created and encouraged. It is these types of organizations that will put their customers first, cut red tape and empower employees (Romzek and Ingraham, 1994, 325). This combination is sure to begin the trek to finding solutions related to public sector reform. The changing environment makes it clear that the traditional function of the central personnel office21, which performed the duties of the “organizational police”, must move toward functioning more in line with organizational facilitation and management. This is a challenge not only to norms of traditional accountability, but also the past practices that were related to equity and fairness within the organization. Equally significant is the fact that it opens the door to reconsideration of the requirements for entrance and the role of politics in the process. Consideration of these challenges must be an essential part of the process of public sector reform. It is clear that the public sector of the future must be less centralized and be given more opportunity to be autonomous in its structure and process. Change cannot take place without consideration and reconciliation of the issues that will create a stronger call for accountability that comes with autonomy. This will create a new energized public sector that will be creative and thus find ways to cultivate and reward entrepreneurial activity. If the shift is to occur in the environment of a shared vision for
In the case of The Bahamas, the Department of Public Personnel (DPP) is responsible for management of the central personnel function.
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the organization and its programs, the branches of government and between elected officials and career civil servants must embrace it (Romzek and Ingraham, 1994, 329). The public sector of the future must recognize that public employment is a privilege and not a right. Concomitant with this privilege must be the protection of fundamental employee rights (Nigro and Nigro 2000, 38-40). Governance, if it is to achieve even a modicum of success, must be staffed by public officers whose approach to their duties is emphasized by common purposes and collaboration as opposed to territorial claims. Organizations of government are in business to make networking and tradeoffs that those in the private sector would not make. Due to conflicting demands, limited resources, contracting and “hollowed out” government, the public sector is not the “clean” organization that it used to be. Democratic governance, in its efforts to reinvent itself, is challenged by a new set of factors. Among these challenges are to “design flexible, responsive, entrepreneurial organizations staffed by energetic, committed, and creative employees while ensuring that these energies are directed toward appropriate democratic goals and values. This will require a change in the culture of the government agencies for which these individuals work. Collaboration must be encouraged and rewarded, not merely tolerated or discouraged (Romzek and Ingraham 1994, 322-334). Successful public sector reform will require expectation to be attuned to the accountability mechanisms appropriate to assigned tasks. Flexibility will be needed in

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accountability mechanism, too. Multiple accountability mechanism will have to accompany diverse and multiple expectations and tasks. It is important to note that there are many models of change and many paths to reform. Not all governments can or should change in the same way. Just as one size does not fit all, prescriptions for reform and the change process itself must be tailored to the realities of the organization and to its capabilities. This, too, causes change to be more complex and more difficult. Future reforms must proceed from a base that is both better informed about and more understanding of the particular demands of change in the public sector. The challenge of democratic governance in the future is formidable. Governance faces new problems, which require new solutions at a time when government’s capacity to find any such reform is constrained. The luxury of throwing money at these problems is not practical. Solutions must emphasize thinking smarter and working better with the resources at hand (Romzek and Ingraham 1994, 331). The fundamental issues of what government does and how it does it must be combined with the democratic issues of politics, responsiveness, and accountability if reinventing and reform are too succeed. Public administration arrangements are inextricably bound up with issues of political power, the character of polity and the concept of citizenship. Failure to consider democratic issues in the reform process will only reinvent problems and not solve them (Romzek and Ingraham 1994, 331-332).

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Governance will need leadership to reenergize the public sector and focus attention on an integrative management approach that contributes to common purposes and surmounts narrow special interests. This leadership must come from top elected officials. Government operations will not find long-term success unless there are corresponding reforms in the politics of elected officials. Elected officials cannot accomplish these reforms alone. Success will depend on support for such transformation from leaders in the public sector. A skilled, expert, and motivated public sector work force will be essential for success. Success for government will require accommodating greater management discretion, increased administrative responsiveness and continued protection against political abuse. Flexibility in managing the public sector must be accompanied by reform that cultivate and reward entrepreneurial activities. As always, the responsibility for successful government reform rests ultimately with our elected officials, but a revitalized public sector can be an important partner.

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WORKS CITED

Crosby, Benjamin L. 1991. Strategic Planning and strategic Management: What Are They and How Are the Different?” Implementing Policy Change Project, Management Systems International, Inc. Christie, Perry G., the Honourable Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Keynote Address. Speech delivered at the Public Sector Forum for Senior Public Officers, Executives of Unions and Staff Associations, 28 Oct., 2004. Black, Kingsley L. President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers. Address. Speech delivered at the Public Sector Forum for Senior Public Officers, Executives of Unions and Staff Associations, 28 Oct., 2004. Finlayson, Roosevelt, Forum Facilitator. Address. Speech delivered at the Public Sector Forum for Senior Public Officers, Executives of Unions and Staff Associations, 28 Oct. 2004. Mitchell, Fred, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service. Address. Speech delivered at the Public Sector Forum for Senior Public Officers, Executives of Unions and Staff Associations, 28 Oct. 2004. Walters, Jonathan. 2002. Life After Civil Service Reform: The Texas, Georgia and Florida Experiences. Governing Magazine, October 2002. Emery Repsher, Gail and J. Edward Kellough. 2002. Washington Technology. In ww.businessof government.org/pdf/Walters_Report.pdf. Washington, D.C, Washington, D.C.: Post Newsweek Tech Media. Database online, accessed 21 November 2003. Available from Post Newsweek, Washington, D.C, accession no., 1of2. Denhardt, Janet V. and Robert B. Denhardt. 2003. The New Public Service: Serving, not Steering. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharp. Naff, Katherine. 2002. Human Capital 2002. Edited by Mark A. Abramson and Nicole Willenz Gardner. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

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Hays, Steven W. and Richard C. Kearney. 1983, 1990, 1995, 2003. Public Personnel Administration Problems and Prospects Fourth Edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Nigro, Lloyd G. and Felix A. Nigro. 2000. The New Personnel Administration. Itasca, Illinois: F.E. Peacock Publishers, Inc. Holoviak, Stephen J. and Susan Stone Sipkoff. 1987. Managing Human Productivity People Are Your Best Investment. Westport, Connecticut: Praegar. Cayer, Joseph N. 2003. Public Personnel Administration: Problems and Prospects. Edited by Steven W. Hays and Richard C. Kearney. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Meier, Kenneth J. 2000. Politics and the Bureaucracy Policymaking in the Fourth Branch of Government Fourth Edition. Fort Worth: Harcourt College Publishers. Peters, B. Guy. 1996, 2001. The Future of Governing, Second Edition, Revised. Kansas: University Press of Kansas. Mitchell, Fred, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service. 2003. A Vision for the Future. Speech delivered to 48th Annual Convention Progressive Liberal Party, 21 November 2003. Nassau, New Providence. Christie, Perry G., the Honourable Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party. 2003. Keynote Address. Speech delivered to the 48th Annual Convention of the Progressive Liberal Party, 21 November 2003. Nassau, Bahamas. Denhardt Janet V. and Robert B. Denhardt. 2003. The New Public Service Serving, not Steering. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharp. Walters, Jonathan. 2002. Life After Civil Service Reform: The Texas, Georgia, and Florida Experiences. Governing Magazine, October 2002. Bahamas and United Kingdom Governments. 1973. The Bahamas Independence Order 1973. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Symonette-Wells Lois. 2002. Understanding Government With A Bahamian Perspective. Orlando: Rivercross Publishing, Inc. Arberach, Joel D. and Bert A. Rockman. 2001. Politicians, Bureaucrats and Administrative Reform. Edited by Guy B. Peters and Jon Pierre. London: Routledge.

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Romzek, Barbara S. and Patricia W. Ingraham. 1994. New Paradigms For Government. Edited by Barbara S. Romzek Ingraham Patricia W. and Associates. San Francisco: Josey-Bass. Toonen, Theo A. J. 2001. Politicians, Bureaucrats and Administrative Reform. Edited by Guy B. Peters and Jon Pierre. London: Routledge. Vinzant, Douglas H. and Janet C. Vinzant. 1996. Strategy and Organizational Capacity: Finding a Fit. Public Productivity and Management Review (Fall) Cabinet Office. 1995. Manual of Cabinet and Ministry Procedure. Nassau, Bahamas: Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Printing Office. Schacter, Mark. 2000. "Public Sector Reform in Developing Countries Issues, Lessons and Future Directions." Online. Institute On Governance. Cited 6 February 2005. Available from < http://wwww.iog.ca.html>. Research Directorate of the Public Service Commission. "Public Service Report CANADA: Overview of Recent Public Service Reform in Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the United States." Online. Public Service Commission of Canada, Research Directorate. Cited 6 February 2005. Available from < http://wwww.psccfp.gc.ca/prcb/rd>. "Public Service Reform - A Country Analysis." Online. Cited 6 February 2005. Available from < http://wwww.rpani.gov.uk/pservicereform.html]>.

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Appendix A Sample Model of the Public Sector22

HEAD OF STATE CENTRAL AGENCIES HEAD OF GOVERNMENT CABINET Finance Budget Cabinet Office

Planning

Public Service

Health

Education

Transportation LINE DEPARTMENTS

Industry

Air Traffic Control Custom & Revenue

Airline

Post Office Telecommunications

STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES

Taken from Research Directorate of the Public Service Commission. "Public Service Report CANADA: Overview of Recent Public Service Reform in Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the United States" Page 3.

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