Liliana Caballero

Bogotá Mayorship under Antanas Mockus
Focus Area(s): 
Civil Service
Critical Tasks: 
Building citizen support
Computerization of records
Making services accessible
One-stop shops
Performance management system
Matthew Devlin
Country of Reform: 
Date of Interview: 
Thursday, November 5, 2009

Liliana Caballero describes the pillars of the Admirable Public Administration goal of Antanas Mockus' Development Plan for Bogotá.  This program for institutional strengthening sought to: 1) foster responsibility amongst civil servants; 2) guarantee a continuity of vision across mayoral administrations; 3) institutionalize shared work, coordination and teamwork; 4) enhance interaction with the citizenry, specifically through the Program of Service to the Citizen; 5) strengthen external accountability; 6) capitalize on lessons from every experience; 7) inspire respect for separation of powers; and 8) promote co-responsibility and self-regulation predicated upon awareness of rights and responsibilities both amongst public servants and the citizenry.  She then focuses on specific initiatives aimed at achieving these goals.  First, Caballero highlights the implementation of a peer nomination system for public servants who exceed expectations in the performance of their function as an effective means to promote self-awareness and excellence.  Second, she emphasizes adaptation of service delivery schemes to the realities on the ground.  In this sense, the Mockus administration promoted computerization of municipal paperwork and utility payment.  However, in response to the fact that 60% of the Bogotá population lacks access to the necessary technology, a "supermarket model" was adopted to cater to this demographic. Three tiers of CADES or Specialized District Centers of Attention were established, with the Super CADES allowing for transactions at both the local and national levels, regular CADES offering a wide range of services at the district level, and rapid CADES offering short lines and efficient customer service for rapid payment of utilities.  These centers were built strategically in neighborhoods where the target population would reside or work, and flexible schedules were set up in order to minimize travel time, inconvenience during working hours and expense.  Third, Caballero describes several strategies to identify public servants best suited for interaction with the public and to create a public service mentality focused on responsiveness to taxpayers.  A successful innovation in this area that later transcended the civil service arena was the creation of "transversal teams" that bring together people that share similar responsibilities in the areas of support for different entities, allowing for discussion of competence, identification of best practices and capacity building in the face of limited resources.

Case Study:  Conjuring and Consolidating a Turnaround: Government in Bogotá, 1992-2003

Full Interview: 
68 MB
Liliana Caballero - Full Interview

A criminal lawyer by training, Liliana Caballero has dedicated most of her career to the public sector.  She served as Antanas Mockus' secretary general at the rectory of the National University of Colombia, later joining him as secretary general of the Bogotá Mayorship and effective second-in-command during his second term in office. She was in charge of the implementation of the Development Plan goal for Admirable Public Service and has worked as a presidential consultant on administrative reform on several occasions. Caballero was the National Director of Antanas Mockus' 2010 presidential campaign with the Colombian Green Party.

Nationality of Interviewee: 
Liliana Caballero
Antanas Mockus