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jerryking : public_servants   8

Cake shop management cannot suffice for a modern economy.
Feb 28, 2019 | Kaieteur News | Columnists, Peeping Tom.

Cake shop management cannot suffice for a modern economy.

The style of governance since political Independence has not been conducive to development. It is ill-suited for modernization. Given the expansive nature of relations and issues which governments have to address, there is a need for greater devolution of power. Centralized government can no longer cope with the multiple, overlapping and multilayered aspects of governance.......Guyana, however, is going in the opposite direction. The more modern the bureaucracy, the more swollen and overstaffed it becomes. The more complex government becomes, the more centralized is decision-making. The greater demands on resources, the bigger the bureaucracy.
The public bureaucracy is now a cancer. It is sucking the life out of public administration. Merely keeping this inefficient and revenue-guzzling monstrosity alive is costing taxpayers in excess of 500 million dollars per day. This is wanton wastage. That money could have been put to help boost private sector development to create jobs for the thousands of young people who are unemployed. The more the government implements technology, the more inefficient it becomes. It is all part of what is known as cake shop management........Guyana is going to continue to be left behind the rest of the world. It has seen Guyana retrogress and we will always be in a fire fighting mode rather than ensuring forward thinking and planning. A country today simply cannot be run like a cake shop. The world is too modern, and too many things are taking place to allow for such a style of governance. Once the policy is made by the government, the mechanics should be left to lower level officials who should be held accountable for ensuring its implementation and who should be held responsible for any failures........What is required is for faster decision-making so as to allow for the multitasking.........Plantain chips and breadfruit chips and other small businesses cannot make the economy grow. It cannot generate the massive jobs needed to impact on unemployment. It will not lift large numbers out of poverty. This is catch-hand approach to helping poor people.
Cake shop management cannot run a modern economy. Never has; never will.
bureaucracies  centralization  complexity  decision_making  devolution  Guyana  inefficiencies  modernization  policymaking  public_sector  public_servants  technology  traffic_congestion  forward-thinking  multitasking  decentralization  digital_economy  governance  knowledge_economy  centralized_control  implementation  unsophisticated 
march 2019 by jerryking
Harold Brown, Defense Secretary in Carter Administration, Dies at 91
Jan. 5, 2019 | The New York Times | By Robert D. McFadden.

Harold Brown, a brilliant scientist who helped develop America’s nuclear arsenal and negotiate its first strategic arms control treaty, and who was President Jimmy Carter’s secretary of defense in an era of rising Soviet challenges, died on Friday at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. He was 91.....As defense secretary from 1977 to 1981, Mr. Brown presided over the most formidable power in history: legions of intercontinental ballistic missiles and fleets of world-ranging bombers and nuclear submarines, with enough warheads to wipe out Soviet society many times over......In retrospect, experts say, the Carter administration and Mr. Brown maintained the strategic balance, countering Soviet aircraft and ballistic innovations by improving land-based ICBMs, by upgrading B-52 strategic bombers with low-flying cruise missiles and by deploying far more submarine-launched missiles tipped with MIRVs, or multiple warheads that split into independent trajectories to hit many targets......By the time he joined the Carter administration, Mr. Brown had played important roles in the defense establishment for two decades — in nuclear weapons research, in development of Polaris missiles, in directing the Pentagon’s multibillion-dollar weapons research program, and in helping to plot strategy for the Vietnam War as secretary of the Air Force.....He had been a protégé of Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb, and his successor as head of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California. He had been president of the California Institute of Technology; had worked for Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon; and had been a delegate to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I). As the first scientist to become defense secretary, Mr. Brown knew the technological complexities of modern warfare. He began the development of “stealth” aircraft, with low profiles on radar. He accelerated the Trident submarine program and the conversion of older Poseidon subs to carry MIRVs. And, with an eye on cost-effectiveness, he and President Carter halted the B-1 bomber as a successor to the B-52. Mr. Brown laid the groundwork for talks that produced the Camp David accords, mediated by Mr. Carter and signed in 1978 by President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel. ......In 1980, Mr. Brown helped plan a mission to rescue American hostages held by Iranians who seized the American Embassy in Tehran in November 1979.......Harold Brown was born in New York City on Sept. 19, 1927, the only son of Abraham Brown, a lawyer, and Gertrude Cohen Brown. From childhood he was considered a genius. At 15, he graduated from the Bronx High School of Science with a 99.52 average. At Columbia University, he studied physics and earned three degrees — a bachelor’s in only two years, graduating in 1945 with highest honors; a master’s in 1946; and a doctorate in 1949, when he was 21.....From 1961 to 1965, he was director of defense research and engineering, the Pentagon’s third-ranking civilian, responsible for weapons development, and one of Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara’s “whiz kids.” He was the Air Force secretary from 1965 to 1969, and over the next eight years he was president of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

After leaving the Pentagon in 1981, Mr. Brown taught at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University for several years, and from 1984 to 1992 he was chairman of the school’s foreign policy institute.

Since 1990, he had been a partner at Warburg Pincus, the New York investment firm.
'60s  '70s  Caltech  Colleges_&_Universities  Jimmy_Carter  leadership  obituaries  Pentagon  physicists  SAIS  SecDef  security_&_intelligence  the_best_and_brightest  Vietnam_War  whiz_kids  Cold_War  public_servants 
january 2019 by jerryking
Why boring government matters
November 1, 2018 | | Financial Times | Brooke Masters.

The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy, by Michael Lewis, Allen Lane, RRP£20, 219 pages.

John MacWilliams is a former Goldman Sachs investment banker who becomes the risk manager for the department of energy. He regales Lewis with a horrific catalogue of all the things that can go wrong if a government takes its eye off the ball, and provides the book with its title. Asked to name the five things that worry him the most, he lists the usual risks that one would expect — accidents, the North Koreans, Iran — but adds that the “fifth risk” is “project management”.

Lewis explains that “this is the risk society runs when it falls into the habit of responding to long-term risks with short-term solutions.” In other words, America will suffer if it stops caring about the unsung but vital programmes that decontaminate billions of tonnes of nuclear waste, fund basic scientific research and gather weather data.

That trap, he makes clear with instance after instance of the Trump administration failing to heed or even meet with his heroic bureaucrats, is what America is falling into now.

We should all be frightened.
books  book_reviews  boring  bureaucracy  bureaucrats  cynicism  Department_of_Energy  government  Michael_Lewis  public_servants  risks  technocrats  unglamorous  writers  short-term_thinking  competence  sovereign-risk  civics  risk-management 
november 2018 by jerryking
Pam McConnell 1946-2017: A true public servant
JULY 10, 2017 | Spacing Toronto | BY JOHN LORINC

Pam McConnell was a former teacher turned school trustee who had moved from the Toronto Board of Education to council in 1994, representing Ward 7 following a narrow victory. In office, she made it her mission to correct some of the failures of social planning that had rendered St. James Town such a challenging place to live. As she’d point out in interviews, families living high up in those apartment blocks had no backyards and needed local amenities, especially a fully equipped community centre......her stick-with-it-ness was legendary. McConnell’s fingerprints are all over the east half of the Toronto Centre riding, from the demolition of the eastern tail of the Gardiner Expressway to the waterfront projects that have sprouted between Yonge and Cherry.
Former mayor David Miller asked her to chair the Toronto Police Services Board, a job that has produced many perils for the women who’ve served previously in that post......McConnell was absolutely the best person for that position, not least because she knew, from her constituents, all about the social geography of low-income communities.
Indeed, I’d say her signature accomplishment was pushing the City and Toronto Community Housing to produce a “social development plan” (SDP) for the redeveloped Regent Park. ..... McConnell is most visibly associated with her advocacy of the new Regent Park pool and central park. But I’d say the plan may well be her signature achievement. It forced City officials to fully confront the reality that the low-income communities which stand in the path of speculative redevelopment pressure are so much more than two-dimensional collections of crime and socio-economic statistics housed in deteriorating buildings.

See also https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/07/12/pam-mcconnell-left-a-huge-legacy-to-toronto-and-a-big-legacy-project-for-her-council-colleagues-keenan.html
redevelopments  public_servants  city_councillors  women  Toronto  obituaries  tributes  John_Lorinc  St._James_Town  sticktoitiveness  Regent_Park  revitalization  social_geography  Corktown  Distillery_District  social_justice  city_builders  Yonge_Street 
july 2017 by jerryking
Training Wheels for Treasury Secretaries - WSJ
By HOLMAN W. JENKINS JR..
Updated Dec. 11, 2002

Public choice holds that politicians and government officials have interests, like anyone else, and understanding these interests is a better guide to their behavior than some disembodied notion of the "public good." In the words of Prof. Buchanan, "If you want to improve politics, improve the rules, improve the structure. Don't expect politicians to behave differently. They behave according to their interests."
public_choice  appointments  Holman_Jenkins  interests  politicians  organizational_structure  public_servants  politics  U.S.Treasury_Department  incentives  self-interest  public_goods  behaviours 
february 2015 by jerryking
The perils of the career politician - The Globe and Mail
DONALD SAVOIE
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Oct. 06 2014
career_paths  politicians  public_service  public_servants 
october 2014 by jerryking
The Long, Sorry Tale of Pension Promises - WSJ.com
September 20, 2013 | WSJ | By ROGER LOWENSTEIN

The Long, Sorry Tale of Pension Promises
How did states and cities get into this mess? It's a simple case of human frailty; where to go from here

Pension benefits aren't paid out of thin air; sponsors are supposed to set aside a sum of money proportional to the benefits that will eventually come due. If the money is invested prudently, the fund will have enough assets to meet its obligations.

Here's the rub: While Studebaker was nominally increasing benefits, it hadn't the slightest hope of making the requisite contributions. The "increases" were a fiction, but when you have no cash, promising future benefits is the best you can do, whereas raising salaries is out of the question. The United Auto Workers was complicit in this fiction. Union officials reckoned that it was better to tell the members they had won an "increase" rather than to admit that their employer was going bust.....Public pensions—and here we come back to our current straits—replicated this behavior. Cops, firefighters and teachers had pensions well before most private-sector workers, but benefits weren't so high as to cause a problem, since government employers unilaterally set benefit levels (as well as salaries) without resorting to anything as unpleasant as collective bargaining....Before we get more Detroits, or more Studebakers, the federal government should enact an Erisa (with teeth) for public employers. More simply, it could announce that local governments that fail to make timely and adequate contributions to their pension plans would lose the right to sell bonds on a tax-free basis. That would get their attention.

The point isn't to punish public retirees. The point is that, when governments make contractual promises, they ought to fund them.
pension_funds  Roger_Lowenstein  liabilities  human_frailties  unions  public_sector  public_servants  public_pensions 
september 2013 by jerryking
African-Guyanese need to invest time and resources in agriculture
May 19, 2011 | Stabroek News | by Richard Drake.

I believe that what black communities lack the most is money and wealth. A causal observation of any black community will reveal that the stranglehold of poverty is affecting their growth and development. The high number of dilapidated buildings, poor roads, water and sanitation are manifest expressions of that poverty. There are a number of reasons for this I shall discuss two.

First, our attitude towards money is bad. Look at the way we spend our hard-earned money in entertainment. Almost every show at the Providence Stadium is filled to capacity with young and not so young African-Guyanese. Every show young Blacks spend thousands of dollars they can hardly afford. We entertain ourselves at the expense of everything else, even our development.[JCK: consumer_mindset]

Second, a large percentage of African-Guyanese work in the public sector; they are public servants. The government controls the public purse. Therefore, it decides how much these servants will be paid and how much they should be taxed. In this way, they do exert a great deal of power over the development of Blacks and influence the quality of their lives and communities.

One can argue that there are trade unions which negotiate with government, wages and salaries for workers. However, given the behaviour of the unions demonstrated at the last May Day rally, the divisions among them, and the fact that some of their leaders appear to have been bought out by the government one can hardly expect a decent challenge by these organizations to the unfairness in the national pay system.

As a result, the average public servant lives from pay cheque to pay cheque. It is a vicious cycle.

What is clear is that African-Guyanese desperately need a paradigm shift. African-Guyanese must get out of the public sector now. We need to begin to ‘re-image’ ourselves not as servants (public or otherwise) but as entrepreneurs. This is absolutely necessary for wealth creation and development.

One area that is immediately available to us is agriculture. There is a lot of history in the black community in this industry and much aversion to it, particularly by our young people but, there is enormous potential in this industry. Export markets are available for all kinds of non-traditional produce. However, we are too busy sitting behind desks burdened with loads of paperwork that we cannot see and exploit the potential in this sector. We love the sound of the names and status of certain positions in the public sector. Some of those very positions retard our growth and progress. We have to change that.

As a people, we need to invest time and resources in the agriculture industry; we need to go back to the land en masse. Black families and communities must become efficient economic units, generating wealth for real development through large-scale crop and animal husbandry. [JCK: producer_mindset]This will make us self employed, reduce the amount we spend in purchasing food, decrease our dependence on others to supply us with food and free up money for other investment activities. It will help in wealth generation in black communities.
African_Guyanese_villages  Afro-Guyanese  agriculture  consumer_mindset  downward_spirals  economic_development  entrepreneurship  ethnic_communities  farming  fresh_produce  frugality  generational_wealth  Guyana  letters_to_the_editor  mindsets  non-traditional  overrepresentation  paradigm_shifts  poverty  producer_mindset  psyche_of_dependency  public_sector  public_servants  self-employment  wealth_creation  young_people 
august 2013 by jerryking

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