Starting over from the reform of the Public Administration: the crux of the selection of executives for the Draghi government. Speech by Emilio Lonardo, head of the Emilia-Romagna Region Ombudsman office
The new Government-trade union pact for public work, recently signed with the direct participation of Draghi, allows Minister Brunetta to restart on the indispensable, urgent and structural reform of the Italian public machine. The approach of the "first" Brunetta emphasized – perhaps deliberately – the fight against the "slackers", trying to create in his first attempt at reform a social consensus that was too brutal and simple, based on the very negative judgment of the private world and ordinary citizens towards the Italian public administration.
The battle against the "slackers" was, however, like attributing the rout of an army to soldiers rather than to officers and generals (and ministers!). As if the rout of Caporetto had been the daughter of idle and cowardly infantry and not, instead, of incapable generals, climbers and whoremongers.
I have traveled the life of the Italian public administration for over forty years, in various roles (young precarious, administrator of special companies, official of a ministry and of an important region, municipal councilor of an important city, internal trade unionist and, lastly, Head of the Emilia-Romagna Regional Ombudsman's Office). So I was able to see pieces of this strange world with different lenses, and I came to some partial conclusions. In particular, in the last assignment, I had to deal with many requests from citizens and businesses against alleged errors, delays, injustices, caused by entities of various levels and I had confirmation of my thesis.
That there are "idle" employees in the Italian PA is certain. It is not clear, however, why the idlers should all end up there and not even in private companies, in normal workplaces. What is it that in the Italian PPAA determines, on average, a presumed greater inefficiency of personnel and administrative procedures?
These questions must be answered with realism and with various interventions, likely to produce positive effects over decades and not over the average life span of an Italian government. At the center of my first reflection is the theme of the selection of executives, who can be the real inspirers like the emaciated gravediggers of the effectiveness and good quality of that product that a PA is asked to churn out every morning for citizens. and businesses, and which needs a loaded army, ready to sacrifice itself and led by capable and intelligent superiors.
The entry of managers with the current system of competitions and their irremovable "detachment" from the rest of public workers is an obvious cause of the PA problem in a country like Italy. Many administrations, alongside capable and useful managers, must take charge of maintaining unnecessary and often harmful figures who, having won a competition (sometimes even piloted), remain for life to do damage to the PA until retirement.
Except for extremely specialized figures, the managerial function in the PA needs above all individual skills, organizational skills, a respectful and intelligent approach to the use of rules and procedures, readiness to put themselves in the shoes of the end user, a vocation for continuous (and motivated) innovation , taking responsability. If an imbecile passes the competitions, a person mentally unfit to direct, ready to download the problems to those above or below, without organizational and procedural skills and abilities, and remains so for life, the PA will have to pay handsomely to continue doing damage (gender equality in this field is largely guaranteed).
Reforming access to the executive role in the PA is absolutely necessary, like choosing officers in an army ready for war: a daily war to make Italy a great region of Europe.
We could start with competitions for access to a single role in the civil servant career, ranging from the official to the top management roles.
Except for specialized functions (doctors, engineers, chemists, etc.), the competition tests should not be too subtle about the type of degree, given that diplomas (and times) also change between individual Italian universities. Indeed, in the legal-administrative field, for example, an obtusely trained jurist can do more damage than a good economist or social scientist.
From those competitions, we start from the official level and we can aspire, only for merits demonstrated in concrete work, to the highest management roles. The important thing is that you give yourself the opportunity to go up and down: go up stairs with challenging steps and go down with quick and easy escalators. A sort of "security" of the minimum income would be maintained, hypothesized on the 30,000 euros gross per year and the guarantee (except for serious behavior punishable by dismissal) of the "permanent job" and a decent minimum income, to which reference can be made sure for the essential economic commitments that life presents. For the rest, (every three years?) We are confirmed, or called to more important positions, or downgraded to less important roles.
To do this, it would take an iron pact between political decision-makers (and those who represent them) and trade union organizations (confederal and public employment): in work, to reward those who deserve it, we must also downgrade those who equally deserve it. And that, if he wants to and has the ability, after a downhill plan he can show with commitment and ability that he can eventually go back up.
Ah, please, don't let the future executives contract be managed by the ARAN executives (and, dear unions, by the management unionists): dog doesn't eat dog!
This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/mondo/cari-draghi-e-brunetta-serve-rivoluzionare-la-selezione-dei-dirigenti-nella-pubblica-amministrazione/ on Mon, 22 Mar 2021 09:23:55 +0000.