Downsizing

Restoring Order in the West Bank, 2007−2009

Author
Jennifer Widner, Tristan Dreisbach, and Gordon LaForge
Focus Area(s)
Country of Reform
Abstract

“Security was the toughest part of the job,” Salam Fayyad said, reflecting on his first two years as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. The second intifada, a five-year uprising against Israeli occupation, had just wound down, leaving in its wake an epidemic of crime and lawlessness in the West Bank. To restore order and to demonstrate that authority could fulfill this most primary function of a state, Fayyad worked with security chiefs to revive the mission of the Palestinian Security Services and enhance their professionalism, to deploy the civil police, and to get gunmen off the streets. Those steps required strategies for both introducing reform in opaque systems and persuading people that better policing was not tantamount to supporting an occupying state. By the end of 2007, six months after he assumed office, crime rates were down and public perceptions of safety had started to improve. Still, continued Israeli interference in the West Bank’s internal security plus other persistent challenges undermined efforts to maintain a functional and sovereign security apparatus.

Jennifer Widner, Tristan Dreisbach, and Gordon LaForge drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Ramallah, Nablus, and Jericho in June and July 2019 and in Princeton, New Jersey, and other locations during 2019 and 2020. The case is part of a series on state building in Palestine, 2002–05 and 2007–11. Case published June 2022.

Best-Laid Plans: Ethiopia Aligns Health Care with National Goals, 2014-2018

Author
Gordon LaForge
Country of Reform
Abstract

Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Health was struggling to meet its goals in 2014 despite impressive gains in the health of its citizens during the previous 20 years. A new minister and his leadership team reached out for ideas by engaging Ethiopia’s regions, districts, and communities—an essential step in a large and ethnically diverse society. They then developed an ambitious transformation program to help realize the government’s national aspirations for health care, including commitments made to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. To bring their vision to fruition, however, the minister and his team had to link priorities to the budget process and use the health budget as a management tool. The ministries of health and finance matched goals and targets to available resources and worked to create actionable plans. And health officials took steps to build cooperation and extend coordination at every level of government in Ethiopia’s federal system. Technical and capacity constraints—plus unexpected political upheaval beginning in late 2015—slowed implementation, but in 2018 a new administration was taking steps to address those challenges.

Gordon LaForge drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in October 2018. Case published January 2019.

To view a short version of the case, please click here

Cleaning the Civil Service Payroll: Post-Conflict Liberia, 2008-2011

Author
Jonathan (Yoni) Friedman
Focus Area(s)
Country of Reform
Abstract
Shadi Baki and Alfred Drosaye confronted a civil service in disarray in 2008, following a devastating 14-year civil war during which 250,000 people were killed, Liberia’s infrastructure was all but destroyed and government services collapsed. Despite the disintegration of the government, the civil service payroll more than doubled to 44,000 from 20,000 before the war, saddling the government with an unaffordable wage bill. Furthermore, the government had little sense of who was actually on the payroll and who should have been on the payroll. Rebel groups and interim governments put their partisans on the payroll even though they were unqualified or performed no state function. An unknown number of civil servants died or fled during the war but remained on the payroll. After delays due to an ineffective transitional government and moderately successful but scattered attempts to clean the payroll, Baki and Drosaye at Liberia’s Civil Service Agency set out in 2008 to clean the payroll of ghost workers, establish a centralized, automated civil service personnel database, and issue biometric identification cards to all civil servants. Cleaning the payroll would bring order to the civil service, save the government money and facilitate pay and pension reforms and new training initiatives. This case chronicles Liberia’s successful effort to clean up its payroll following a protracted civil war and lay the foundation for organized civil service management.
 
Jonathan Friedman drafted this case study on the basis of interviews conducted in Monrovia, Liberia during December 2010 and on the basis of interviews conducted by Summer Lopez in Monrovia, Liberia during June 2008. Case published October 2011.
 
Associated Interview(s):  Shadi Baki, Alfred Drosaye

Kithinji Kiragu

Ref Batch
Z
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
3
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Professor Jennifer Widner
Name
Kithinji Kiragu
Interviewee's Position
Public Sector Management Specialist
Interviewee's Organization
Independent
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Kenya
Place (Building/Street)
World Bank
Town/City
Washington, DC
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract

Kithinji Kiragu talks about the challenges facing the Tanzanian civil service over the years, including inefficiency and overstaffing.  He describes the wave of change that began under President Mkapa in 1995 and the difficult decisions he made, such as pushing through unpopular but necessary downsizing processes.  Kiragu identifies the importance of high level support for reform efforts, in this case a powerful coalition consisting of the president, the head of the public service, and the secretary of the cabinet.  He recalls the focus on installing a meritocratic system within the civil service, and he highlights the concerns and considerations surrounding decentralization attempts.  He reflects on how the security of tenure allowed permanent secretaries to oversee long-term reform efforts: Some permanent secretaries remained in office for 10 years.  He concludes with some thoughts on how advisers, including local advisers, can be more successful in their interactions with partner countries.

Case Study:  Creating an Affordable Public Service: Tanzania, 1995-1998

Profile

Kithinji Kiragu was trained as a management consultant, earning a master's degree in business administration from the University of Strathclyde, U.K., after a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Nairobi.  After receiving his master's in 1979, Kiragu joined Coopers & Lybrand, now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers, as a management consultant.  He rose through the ranks and became a director before founding his own firm, KK Consulting Associates.  At the time of this interview, he was chairman and director of Africa Development Professional Group Ltd., an independent consulting firm.  He had worked on a number of public sector reform projects in Kenya and Tanzania, including the Kenya Rural Access Roads Program, and he served as the chief technical adviser for public sector reforms in the Office of the President of Tanzania from 1995 until 1999.  He also was a certified public accountant in Kenya.

Full Audio File Size
35.1Mb
Audio Subsections
Size
952Kb
Title
Challenges of Decentralization
Size
848Kb
Title
Characteristics of Reform Leaders
Size
1.4Mb
Title
Building a Reform Team
Full Audio Title
Kithinji Kiragu Full Interview

Abraham Simmons

Ref Batch
ZF
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
3
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Jonathan (Yoni) Friedman
Name
Abraham Simmons
Interviewee's Position
Managing Director
Interviewee's Organization
Roberts International Airport, 2007-2009
Language
English
Town/City
Monrovia
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Abraham Simmons discusses his experience as the managing director of Roberts International Airport from 2007 to 2009. He describes the situation of the airport in 2007 as in dire need of renovation, improved services, and financial reform. He notes that his first action as director was to create a clear definition of each position and to establish an understanding of responsibilities. Through the help of foreign consultants Simmons was also able to create an airport operations manual to aid this process. Simmons then discusses the new training programs implemented from 2007 to 2009. He then adds detail in to the challenges that surrounded financing of reforms and new equipment for the airport. With this, he sheds light on efforts to bring the airport up to international compliance. He concludes his discussion with information about a functional review process as an effort to make the operation of the airport more transparent. He also speaks about a new, clearer promotion system that would standardize hiring and firing of employees.  

Case Study:  Getting Reforms Off the Ground: Roberts International Airport, Liberia, 2006-2009  

Profile

Abraham Simmons was the managing director of the Roberts International Airport from 2007 to 2009. He had previously worked with McDonald Douglas, UPS Air Group, VOLPAR Incorporated and Air Liberia. Although two years retired in 2007, Simmons took the position of managing director of Roberts International Airport in order to implement various reforms in compliance with international standards.

Full Audio File Size
55 MB
Full Audio Title
Abraham Simmons Interview

Agim Selami

Ref Batch
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

Neneh Dabo

Ref Batch
A
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
10
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Ashley McCants
Name
Neneh Dabo
Interviewee's Position
Director of Corruption Prevention and Community Relations of the Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commis
Interviewee's Organization
Anti- Corruption Commission
Language
English
Town/City
Freetown
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Neneh Dabo describes her experience with public sector reform as part of the Anti-Corruption Commission of Sierra Leone. Outlining the circumstances surrounding the creation of the commission, she elaborates on how the move for reform was spearheaded by the desire to address institutional corruption and meet the need for a professional cadre of civil servants. Dabo discusses the steps taken to ensure efficient delivery of public services, starting with the consolidation of information to determine key reform priorities and going on to discuss the efforts to downsize the civil service and streamline recruitment. Acknowledging the challenges involved in improving the service, she stresses the importance of ensuring management accountability and compliance monitoring when working for the success of reform. Dabo further elaborates on the subject of capacity building and discusses existing training and recruitment procedures, emphasizing the need to increase the attractiveness of a civil service career, possibly through fiscal incentives. Ultimately, she stresses the importance of both training and oversight for effective reform, noting the need to learn from the successful stories of others.     

Profile

Neneh Dabo was the director of corruption prevention and community relations of the Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commission. She served in the government civil service before she was seconded to the commission, which she joined upon its inception in 2000. Dabo’s career in public service involved her appointment as permanent secretary in both the Ministry of Works & Technical Maintenance and the Ministry of Labor. She also served as assistant secretary, and later, deputy secretary, in the office of the president.  A graduate of the University of Sierra Leone, Dabo attended several post-graduate courses in public sector management, human resource development, general administration and commonwealth diplomatic training.

Full Audio File Size
61 MB
Full Audio Title
Neneh Dabo - Full Interview

Zurab Nogaideli

Ref Batch
J
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
4
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Andrew Schalkwyk
Name
Zurab Nogaideli
Interviewee's Position
Former Prime Minister
Interviewee's Organization
Republic of Georgia
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Georgia
Town/City
Tbilisi
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract

Zurab Nogaideli, who was prime minister of Georgia from 2005 to 2007, details the country's experience of reform generally and civil service reform in particular.  He discusses the challenges that confronted the country after the Rose Revolution in 2003, and talks about efforts made to downsize the civil service and reduce corruption.  He emphasizes that simpler systems work better in developing countries, and that fewer people with better training and higher pay do a better job than a greater number of individuals who are poorly paid and poorly trained.  He favors simple regulations that do not foster interaction between mid-level bureaucrats and citizens, believing that frequent interaction encourages corruption.  Nogaideli believes that Georgia had four years of excellent reform from 2003 to 2007, but that gradually some successes were eroded.  He maintains this demonstrates the importance of continuing on a strong reform course even after early achievements.  He offers reasons for what he perceives as backsliding on reforms, and provides advice for countries that want to move forward.

Case Study:  Delivering on the Hope of the Rose Revolution: Public Sector Reform in Georgia, 2004-2009

Profile

Zurab Nogaideli was born in Georgia and educated at Moscow State University.  He was a deputy in Georgia's Parliament in 1992 and chaired the Parliamentary Committee on Environment Protection and Natural Resources from 1992 to 1995.  He was a member of Parliament from 1995 to 1999 and 1999 to 2000, and he chaired the Parliamentary Tax and Income Committee.  He joined the government of Eduard Shevardnadze as minister of finance in May 2000.  After leaving government work in 2002, he returned after Shevardnadze was ousted in the Rose Revolution of November 2003.  He was reappointed to his former post as minister of finance in February 2004 in the government of Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania.  Nogaideli served as prime minister from 2005 to 2007, when he resigned from government due to health reasons.
 

Full Audio File Size
27.7MB
Full Audio Title
Zurab Nogaideli- Full Interview

Baiba Petersone

Ref Batch
E
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
6
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Jonathan Friedman
Name
Baiba Petersone
Interviewee's Position
Director
Interviewee's Organization
Latvia School of Public Administration
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Latvian
Town/City
Riga
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
In this interview, Baiba Petersone describes various tasks ministries assigned the Policy Coordination Department, particularly the civil service reforms she led. In her first few years in the new department, the main task was to survey Latvia’s policy-making system. From this survey, Petersone explains the department knew its first task was to create a policy system. They developed a process based on several types of documents, each with a different purpose. The department also created an annotation system to include information such as the costs of a proposal. The next step was to implement an inter-ministerial consultation system. Petersone discusses how the department chose its priorities and the sequence of its reforms. Finally, she details the civil service reforms undertaken, which she was in charge of. Her working group proposed abolishing the contract system and reforming how the government sets civil servant salaries. She describes the options considered and how the economic crisis of 2008 affected their ability to implement their changes.
 
Profile

Baiba Petersone was the director of Latvia’s School of Public Administration. She began her career as a researcher in the Academy of Sciences. After entering politics during Latvia’s independence, she spent seven years as an active politician. In 1996 she entered the civil service as Director of the Department of Education Strategy in the Ministry of Education. From there she joined the State Chancellery as a member of the Policy Coordination Department. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in philosophy, though at the time the field really consisted of social science. 

Full Audio File Size
70 MB
Full Audio Title
Baiba Petersone - Full Interview

E.M. Debrah

Ref Batch
C
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
1
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Ashley McCants
Name
E.M. Debrah
Interviewee's Position
Chairman
Interviewee's Organization
Governing Council, Ghana
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Ghanaian
Town/City
Accra
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

E.M. Debrah recounts his experiences in public sector reform in Ghana. He goes into detail about the culture of the civil service in Ghana as well as how one normally enters into the civil service, such as through the specially formed training institute, the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. He also explains the recruitment strategy needed to increase capacity within the civil service and the training programs and internal review sessions that were conducted. He explains the need to increase remuneration packages and the creation of pension plans to lure more talent into the civil service, as well as detailing the retrenchment program Ghana introduced. Debrah also talks about the dynamic between host countries and donors and how to strike the right balance within this relationship to be able to work effectively. Finally, he makes the point that in order for reform to be successful, it must be realistic as well. One must be able to see one’s own limitations and plan accordingly.
 

Profile

At the time of this interview, E.M. Debrah was serving as chairman of the Governing Council in Ghana. He joined the Ghana Foreign Service in 1955 and served in missions around the world, including the United States, Liberia, Ethiopia and Australia. He previously served as secretary to the Cabinet and head of the Ghana Civil Service. He earned degrees from the University of Ghana and the London School of Economics, and received honorary doctorates of law from various universities. In 2006 he was awarded the National Award of the Star of Ghana award for his service to Ghana and other Commonwealth and African countries.

Full Audio File Size
87 MB
Full Audio Title
Amb. Debrah - Full Interview