Quote of the week
“The notion that public administration could be made to look like private-sector management has been ill-conceived, misguided and costly to taxpayers.”
— Donald Savoie
In Monday’s Globe and Mail, Donald Savoie wrote an op-ed piece in which he argued that efforts that make public administration more like private sector management are doomed to failure. The article can be found at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/bureaucracy-is-no-business-of-government/article6968196/.
Savoie’s message will have some resonance in public sector circles. Most public administration thinkers have moved well beyond the New Public Management thinking of twenty years ago that aimed to borrow from the private sector to make government more effective. As one example, many will remember the book Reinventing Government by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler that argued that market forces need to be implemented to drive public sector reform.
But there is still a view out there that private sector principles need to be brought to bear in order to improve the public sector. The starting point for this critique is that government has become too slow and inefficient to maintain its relevance to citizens and politicians.
In the forthcoming January edition of CGE, the head of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party outlines his vision for a reformed public service in Ontario. In an interview, Tim Hudak argues that “we’re using the tools of the last century to address the new challenges of the 21st.”
He calls for direct negotiation with elements of the unionized Ontario public service. He calls for performance rewards for teachers and nurses who do a good job. And he adds this very private sector notion: “… those who aren’t carrying their weight, are not performing, are redundant, are no longer on the government payroll.”