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Saah Charles N'Tow

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B
Ref Batch Number
31
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Blair Cameron and Pallavi Nuka
Name
Saah Charles N'Tow
Interviewee's Position
Former Director of PYPP and Scott Fellows
Language
English
Town/City
Monrovia
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

In this interview, Saah Charles N’Tow describes his roles as program director for the President’s Young Professional Program (PYPP) and John Snow Inc.’s (JSI) Scott Family Liberia Fellows Program. He talks about the process of designing a two-year fellowship program to bring young Liberians into key government ministries and agencies. He explains the creation of a selection criteria for fellows and the procedures that ensured the applicant-screening process remained transparent and fair. He discusses how the program held support sessions for applicants focused on resume writing and interview preparation. He addresses the program’s coordination practices with donors on budget support. He notes instances of resistance against the program from ministries and agencies and describes how the program responded to problems arising from the placement of fellows. He highlights the program’s administrative components that included mentoring, training, performance management, and program immersion. Finally, he describes the importance of sustainable funding procedures and talks about the likelihood of continued support for the program through future administrations

Profile

At the time of this interview, Saah Charles N’Tow was Liberia’s minister of youth and sports. He previously served as the program director of the President’s Young Professional Program (PYPP) and John Snow Inc.’s (JSI) Scott Family Liberia Fellows Program. He formerly served as a conflict sensitivity and training officer for the United Nations (UN) Liberia Peacebuilding Office. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Liberia and his master’s degree in humanitarian assistance from Tufts University. 

Full Audio File Size
99 MB
Full Audio Title
Saah Charles N'Tow Interview

Sigitas Siupsinskas

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D
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
10
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Yoni Friedman
Name
Sigitas Siupsinskas
Interviewee's Position
Vice Minister,
Interviewee's Organization
Minisrty of the Interior, Lithuania
Language
English
Town/City
Vilnius
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

In this interview, Sigitas Šiupšinskas discusses his work in public administration, regional policy and public service with the Lithuanian government. He discusses the VORT (Improvement of Performance-Based Management – from the Lithuanian Valdymo, orientuoto j rezultatus, tobulinimas) project and the Sunset Commission (The Commission for the Improvement of State Administration). He details the methods of the reforms, the gains achieved and the challenges faced. He talks about the effects the cultural environment of the Lithuanian government had on these reforms. He also talks about the successful efficiency gains in public administration and civil service reforms, and the implementations that led to those. Šiupšinskas discusses evaluative measures, methods of prioritization, and functional reviews.

Profile

At the time of this interview, Sigitas Šiupšinskas was vice minister in the Ministry of the Interior. He began his professional career in local administration, as deputy head of a neighborhood in the Vilnius District Municipality. Šiupšinskas then worked as adviser for municipal affairs in the Office of the Government. He then moved on to become director of the Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania. After this, he served as counselor the Lithuanian president on matters of public administration, regional policy and local self-government. He then moved to the Ministry of the Interior, where he first served as adviser to the minister before being appointed to his vice minister position. In the Ministry of the Interior, Šiupšinskas was responsible for public administration, regional policy and public service.

Peter Kenilorea

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N
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
8
Country of Reform
Interviewers
David Hausman
Name
Peter Kenilorea
Interviewee's Position
Speaker of Parliament
Interviewee's Organization
Solomon Islands
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Solomon Islands
Place (Building/Street)
Parliament
Town/City
Honiara
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract

Sir Peter Kenilorea, speaker of Parliament, describes and evaluates recent efforts to rebuild the Solomon Islands public service, which was near collapse when external intervention ended five years of civil unrest in 2003.  Kenilorea gives a detailed account of his own efforts, together with Taeasi Sanga, clerk of Parliament, and a United Nations Development Programme adviser, Warren Cahill, to strengthen the Parliament Secretariat.  By hiring and training a cohort of recent graduates, Kenilorea and Sanga largely avoided the absenteeism and patronage problems that plagued other parts of the Solomon Islands government.

Case Study:  Starting from Scratch in Recruitment and Training: Solomon Islands, 2004-2009

Profile

After playing a prominent role in independence negotiations with the U.K., Sir Peter Kenilorea became the first prime minister of the newly independent Solomon Islands in 1978.   He held that office until 1981, and served in the position again from 1984 to 1986.   He later served as minister of foreign affairs and, from 1996 to 2001, as governmental ombudsman.  In 2001, he became speaker of Parliament.   He was serving his second term in that office at the time of this interview.

Full Audio File Size
40MB
Full Audio Title
Sir Peter Kenilorea- Full Interview

Rizwan Khair

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G
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
2
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Andrew Schalkwyk
Name
Rizwan Khair
Interviewee's Position
Academic Coordinator
Interviewee's Organization
Institute of Governance Studies
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Bangladeshi
Town/City
Dhaka
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Rizwan Khair reviews the reasons he thinks civil service reform had not taken place in Bangladesh. He argues that the mindset of government leaders and the senior civil servants was risk averse and that Bangladesh was stuck in the mindset of the old colonial civil service, with its emphasis on seniority rather than performance. He believes that the development of Bangladesh in a globalized world economy requires that a premium be set on performance, accountability and innovation in the civil service. He suggests that international donors had not been persistent enough in pressing for civil service reform in Bangladesh. More importantly, he calls for his country to look at reforms in Malaysia and India to see why Bangladesh must follow suit in order to build its long-term future.    

Case Study:  Energizing the Civil Service: Managing at The Top 2, Bangladesh, 2006-2011

Profile

At the time of this interview, Rizwan Khair was academic coordinator at the Institute of Governance Studies in Bangladesh. He was seconded from the civil service in 2006 to oversee the Masters in Governance and Development program at the institute. After working in a private bank for four years following his graduation from university, he entered the civil service, where he worked initially in the field before joining the Ministry of Finance's Economic Relations Division. He then transferred to the Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre, where he worked for six years before moving to the institute.

Full Audio File Size
74 MB
Full Audio Title
Rizwan Khair - Full Interview

Agim Selami

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R
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
9
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Matthew Devlin
Name
Agim Selami
Interviewee's Position
Management Coordinator and Research Fellow
Interviewee's Organization
Analytica, Skopje, Macedonia
Town/City
Skopje
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract

Agim Selami discusses the obstacles to depoliticizing the civil service in Macedonia.  He points to neighboring Slovenia as a model for civil service reform in Macedonia, particularly emphasizing Slovenia's "rightsizing" and merit-based promotions.  His views cover the limitations of the Civil Servants Agency, its failure to follow through on enacted legislation, and necessary reforms such as a career system, in which internal candidates are recognized for service and promoted from within.  Selami recognizes European Union membership as a driving force for reform in Macedonia and other southeast European states.  He also discusses the ethnic representation within the civil service and the lure of higher rates of pay in the nongovernmental sector.

Profile

At the time of this interview, Agim Selami was the management coordinator and a research fellow for public administration reform at Analytica, a think tank in Skopje, Macedonia.

Full Audio File Size
20.1MB
Full Audio Title
Agim Selami- Full Interview

Gregory Ellis

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N
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
1
Country of Reform
Interviewers
David Hausman
Name
Gregory Ellis
Interviewee's Position
Senior Operations Officer, Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries Group
Interviewee's Organization
World Bank
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Australian
Place (Building/Street)
World Bank
Town/City
Washington, D.C.
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Gregory Ellis, drawing on his experience in reform programs in various countries, discusses general themes in civil reform service across various contexts, especially from the point of view of donor organizations. He emphasizes the need for understanding the political economy of countries undergoing reform, and the need for understanding indigenous customs. He places immense import on the citizen-state relationship in fragile states, and discusses how a state should be involved in service delivery. Ellis especially emphasizes deference to the host nation’s priorities in creating a reform agenda. In discussing capacity building in the Solomon Islands, Ellis reflects upon the dichotomy between service delivery by donors and the sometimes deleterious effect of technical assistance on long-term capacity building. He goes on to discuss restructuring organizations and combating patronage through professional associations, decentralized recruitment and autonomous decision making. Ellis emphasizes especially the role of local consultation, continuity in visionary leadership and long-term commitment in achieving success in fragile states.
Profile

At the time of this interview, Gregory Ellis had been a senior operations officer at the Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries Group at the World Bank for about a year. His parent organization was the Australian Agency for International Development. He was posted by AusAID in the Solomon Islands between 2005 and 2007, as deputy program manager for the Machinery of Government Program, part of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands. Prior to that, between 2000 and 2002 he held a posting in Timor-Leste after the withdrawal of Indonesian forces. 

Full Audio File Size
71MB
Full Audio Title
Gregory Ellis Interview

Kathleen Imholz

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D
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
8
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Jona Repishti
Name
Kathleen Imholz
Interviewee's Position
Expert on Law Drafting and Legal Approximation
Interviewee's Organization
European Assistance Mission to the Albanian Justice System
Language
English
Town/City
Tirana
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Kathleen Imholz draws from her experience and perspective as a lawyer to analyze civil service reform in Albania, particularly in the context of the 1999 Civil Service Law. She describes some of the supporters and proponents of civil service reform before arguing that the Civil Service Law is unclear and had ambiguous coverage. She highlights the role of the courts and the independent commissions in working with the law but notes that many institutions have become weaker outside the civil service area because of the centralizing tendency. Imholz believes that civil society and media typically play a generally positive role but are not necessarily positive forces in pushing reform. She observes that anti-corruption initiatives have been minimal but does describe a number of other reforms that have been put in place simultaneously with civil service reform. She points to some of the main challenges that civil servants face and notes that motivating people to really want to improve the civil service is always a hard challenge. In general, she believes there is a need to expand the coverage of the civil service law.
 
Profile

At the time of this interview, Kathleen Imholz was an expert with the European Assistance Mission to the Albanian Justice System, where she worked on all aspects of the justice system. From 1999 until October 2005, she worked for several years with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the World Bank as an adviser to the Albanian government and the General Secretary of the Council of Ministers. Before that she taught commercial law as a Fulbright Fellow in Albania and worked on a legal education program in the country.

Full Audio File Size
42 MB
Full Audio Title
Kathleen Imholz - Full Interview

Joseph Rugumyamheto

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E
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
10
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Andrew Schalkwyk
Name
Joseph Rugumyamheto
Interviewee's Position
Former Permanent Secretary for Public Service Management
Interviewee's Organization
Tanzania
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Tanzanian
Town/City
Dar es Salaam
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract
Joseph Rugumyamheto describes sweeping human resource capacity-building efforts undertaken to transform the Tanzanian civil service from dysfunction to effectiveness. He details an array of efforts intended to supplement broader economic liberalization by downsizing while enhancing the skills, competencies and attitudes of civil servants. He explains how the role of the civil service was redefined, rationalized and focused via targeted retrenchment and strategic re-organization of departments. Additionally, he unravels New Public Management-style reforms that promoted meritocratic recruitment, introduced an appraisal system based on performance targets, recalibrated career paths and realigned payment systems. He also explains attempts to facilitate the quality of civil servants and attract skills through the formation of a Public Service Commission, needs assessments and training programs, pay raises and the overall image makeover of the civil service into a functional organization.
 
Profile

Joseph Rugumyamheto worked in several capacities in the Tanzanian civil service for 30 years, ultimately serving for five years as permanent secretary of public service management in the President’s Office. He was responsible for the management of all civil servants in the Tanzanian government in terms of human resources and development. He previously served as chairman of the Government Board of the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute and chairman of the Board of Global Development Learning Centre Network. Rugumyamheto retired in 2006, and at the time of the interview he was chairman of the board and a director of Douglas Lake Minerals Ltd., a joint-venture company holding mineral concession rights in Tanzania. In April 2006, he was awarded the Jit Gill Memorial Award for Outstanding Public Service by the World Bank.

Full Audio File Size
78 MB
Full Audio Title
Joseph Rugumyamheto - Full Interview

Bernard Zeneli

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D
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
14
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Jona Repishti
Name
Bernard Zeneli
Interviewee's Position
Manager
Interviewee's Organization
Brain Gain Program, Albania
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Albanian
Town/City
Tirana
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Bernard Zeneli describes his experiences as the manager of the Brain Gain program in Albania as well as his perspectives on the history of civil service reform.  The Brain Gain program seeks to identify areas from which expertise is readily available, particularly among the Albanian diaspora, and attempts to bring these people into the public sector.  The government plays a leading role in the project, which is supported by the United Nations Development Programme.  Zeneli outlines the process of applying for a position through the program and some of the benefits received by those with advanced degrees from abroad.  He describes the Soros Program that preceded Brain Gain as well as some of the potential problems created by providing various financial incentives to attract those educated abroad.  He also recounts some of the initial difficulties faced when establishing the program.  There was support from the highest levels, but the program met opposition from some of the lower levels of the administration.  Zeneli characterizes the relationship between the government and the U.N. and Brain Gain’s cooperation with civil society organizations as quite positive.
Profile

At the time of this interview, Bernard Zeneli was the manager of the Brain Gain program, an initiative of the Albanian government supported by the United Nations Development Programme that encouraged skilled professionals to return to the country and contribute to its development.  Previously, he was head of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Pristina in Kosovo, where he developed courses related to policy making, comparative politics, government and international relations.  He also taught at Northeastern University, the University of Tirana and South Eastern European University in Tetovo, Macedonia.

Full Audio Title
Audio Available by Request

Albert Bockarie

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A
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
4
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Summer Lopez
Name
Albert Bockarie
Interviewee's Position
Senior Permanent Secretary
Interviewee's Organization
Public Service Commission, Sierra Leone
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Sierra Leonean
Town/City
Freetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Albert Bockarie describes civil service reforms after the end of civil war in Sierra Leone.  He focuses on recruitment procedures and training.  He reports that because of low public service pay, the country suffered from a “brain drain” and corruption.  He argues that these problems cannot be addressed without increasing salaries.  He describes the challenge of getting pay for retirees disbursed promptly.  He urges increased use of computers and other information technologies as essential because paper records can be lost or purposely destroyed.  He says international donors and consultants are helpful in meeting these challenges.     

Profile

At the time of this interview, Albert Bockarie was senior permanent secretary of the Public Service Commission of Sierra Leone.  He had served since 1982 at the provincial level as a district officer and in all the national ministries in the government of Sierra Leone except Trade and Finance, Foreign Affairs, Finance and Education.

Full Audio File Size
66 MB
Full Audio Title
Albert Bockarie - Full Interview