jerryking + bureaucrats   9

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  government  Michael_Lewis  public_servants  risks  technocrats  unglamorous  writers  short-term_thinking  competence  sovereign-risk  civics  risk-management 
november 2018 by jerryking
Robert Bundy: Powerful bureaucrat helped shape Toronto - The Globe and Mail
OLIVER MOORE
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jun. 08, 2017

Robert Bundy, the powerful Toronto civil servant who oversaw the expansion of the city’s parking system and parks, eventually meeting his match in the stubborn residents of the harbour islands, died of heart failure on May 8 in Toronto. He was 94.

A property developer who had served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and was decorated twice by Russia for his role in the Murmansk Run supply convoys, Mr. Bundy moved into public service at a time when city bureaucrats enjoyed substantial clout......Early in their marriage, Mr. Bundy joined the city bureaucracy. His construction business had been successful and “he didn’t have to worry about finances,” his son Brock said. “He really truly believed he was doing something to make everyone’s life better, and you can see that all the way through.”

The elder Mr. Bundy became general manager of Toronto’s parking authority in 1958, a time when creating plentiful and cheap parking was seen as crucial to helping the city compete with the suburbs. A 1968 annual report for the agency shows that in his first 10 years in the role the number of municipal off-street parking spaces nearly doubled to 14,440.

In the late 1950s, he also chaired a committee trying to ensure that sufficient development followed the route of Toronto’s east-west subway line. And he pioneered the concept of a business improvement area, which recruits local merchants to help make their surroundings more attractive and marketable.

The importance of abundant parking, however, remained a passion for years. He was co-founder of what would become the International Parking Institute and travelled to learn from his peers across the continent. Decades later, when he was part of a pitch to redevelop Toronto’s Greenwood Raceway, the proposal was built around extensive new parking.

However, he was cognizant of the needs of non-drivers as well. As Metro’s parks commissioner, he oversaw great swaths of new green space. His family said he was particularly proud of Rosetta McClain Gardens in Scarborough, a park specifically designed around the needs of people with disabilities.

During his tenure, the city created bicycle trails in some of its green spaces, routes that proved so popular they led to friction between cyclists and other users
Toronto  cities  parking  WWII  bureaucrats  parks  obituaries  city_hall  property_development  veterans  leaders  Royal_Navy  BIAs  public_spaces  city_builders  civil_servants  redevelopments  green_spaces 
june 2017 by jerryking
Trump offering a timely cautionary tale on trying to run government as a business
Mar. 31, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | ADAM RADWANSKI.

.The enduring appeal of this hoariest of political clichés – some variation of making government run more like a business – is such that it surely seemed to Mr. Trump’s admirers like confirmation of the real-world expertise he seduced them with on the campaign trail....Mr. Trump is already providing cautionary tales. A management style that encourages factions in his employ to compete against each other for his attention is a proven recipe for chaos in government. His blustery approach to negotiations has yet to show many signs of working with foreign leaders. Most consequentially, so far, a lack of attention to detail, which could be overcome when delegating to underlings at his companies, proved devastating in the first legislative test of his administration – the President unable to sell fellow Republicans on his health-care plan, in part because he did not know details about the bill.......The more time one spends in or around governments, the more obvious it is why attempts to bring a Wall Street or Bay Street mentality to them can end badly.

Ethical scrutiny, for all that entrepreneurs-turned-politicians paint capital cities as swamps, is greater than in the corporate world. And because governments get more attention for failures than quiet successes, tolerance for risk is often lower.

Healthy tension with career civil servants can turn unhealthy if politicians and their staffs do not make honest efforts to understand and engage bureaucrats. And the overarching reality is that, in government, goals and outcomes are more complex, abstract and intuitive than when they can be measured by profit margins.

Business titans can triumph in politics – a Michael Bloomberg in New York, a Danny Williams in Newfoundland. And public-sector culture is often stagnant, and benefits from outside eyes. But the disruptors’ success usually involves a willingness to admit (privately) what they do not know about government, and trust people who understand it better.
Donald_Trump  delusions  business_interests  national_interests  humility  clichés  political_clichés  bureaucrats  government  business  public_sector  pro-business  cautionary_tales 
april 2017 by jerryking
Five ways to renew the public service - The Globe and Mail
DAVID MCLAUGHLIN
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Aug. 22 2014,

No mere bureaucratic mortal, the Clerk is also Secretary to the Cabinet, responsible for the management of the government’s highest decision-making processes. She – for the second time in our history “it” is now a “she,” Janice Charette – the Clerk is the Prime Minister’s principal public service adviser. All formal advice from the public service to the PM goes through the Clerk. And all formal directions from the PM to the public service go through the Clerk. That is a lot of “get,” as they say.

In short, the Clerk is the PM’s deputy minister while the Privy Council Office, housed in the same buildings with the Prime Minister’s Office, is really the department of the Prime Minister. It exists to assert the Prime Minister’s will across the vast apparatus of government. If the Prime Minister is in theory primus intra pares or “first among equals” in the cabinet, the Clerk has no such encumbrances and really exists as “with no equals,” theoretical or otherwise.
public_sector  public_service  PMO  PCO  bureaucrats 
august 2014 by jerryking
905 summit gathering shifts focus from attention-grabbing Toronto
May 07 2013 | The Globe and Mail | MAY WARREN.

The summit will also explore other shared issues such as city planning, unemployment and poverty, through roundtable discussions with citizens and representatives from business, labour and non-profit groups. It builds on previous summits held in Mississauga by Ms. McCallion.

The CEO of Metrolinx and Toronto chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat will be keynote speakers.

Caledon’s Ms. Morrison said she appreciates the chance to provide the town’s perspective.
Oakville  Mississauga  meetings  urban  Toronto  bureaucrats  city_hall  technocrats  Peel_Region 
may 2013 by jerryking
As boomer bureaucrats retire, savvy entrepreneurs rejoice - The Globe and Mail
Dec. 16, 2010 | Globe and Mail | MARY GOODERHAM. The exodus
within Canada’s public service, with more than a quarter of civil
servants retiring or preparing to leave jobs within the next few
years... is creating big opportunity for entrepreneurs...those who make
up Canada’s 8.5 per cent unemployment rate can’t easily replace retirees
leaving senior positions, especially within the public sector, as many
are young males who once worked in the manufacturing and construction
sectors....As a result, executive training programs are becoming
increasingly popular.
exodus  human_resources  baby_boomers  retirement  entrepreneurship  entrepreneur  training  public_sector  civil_service  civil_servants  bureaucrats  Octothorpe_Software  Ottawa  training_programs 
december 2010 by jerryking
The PNM-Wikistrat connection
June 22, 2010 | Globlogization | Thomas P.M. Barnett. Four
20-something entrepreneurs have created a start-up (incorporated 6 mths.
ago) that seeks to adapt the Wiki platform to a
competition-of-the-fittest-style generator of strategic planning within
organizations (companies, government agencies, etc.)...Strategic
consulting in the private sector requires--more than ever--some
connectivity to solution-delivery, meaning almost nobody is paying the
old top-dollar for PPT slide decks and reorg charts--only. Instead,
companies want your interaction to come with some technology solution
that simultaneously empowers them to deal with the issue in question.
Advice just isn't enough anymore.

Govts. as a whole struggle with these problems, and are always looking
for new tools to empower individual workers while connecting them to the
wisdom of crowds, whether it be fellow bureaucrats (where a tremendous
amount of wisdom truly resides) or with the citizenry (their natural
counterparty).
wikis  Thomas_Barnett  management_consulting  start_ups  Israel  Israeli  solutions  advice  counterparties  empowerment  government  tools  bureaucrats  wisdom_of_crowds  citizenry 
june 2010 by jerryking

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