Invigorating the civil service

I think one of Shawn Graham’s best campaign platforms is this idea of bringing in some top talent from outside the province to help recast a vision for New Brunswick and bring in new ideas to invigorate the civil service.


Now, some of you have ridiculed my position on this but I stand fast.

Corporations do this all the time.

Universities do it as a matter of course.

But government, for some perverse reason, is supposed to circle the wagons and draw from an ever shrinking talent pool.

The bottom line is this. I have been told by several people in mid level positions in government that this is needed. But it is risky to serve it up as a campaign strategy as the provincial civil service (broadly defined) is by far the largest voter block in the province. If the opposition positions Graham’s strategy on this as somehow an indictment of the current civil service, he stands to lose Fredericton and much of the government worker votes.

Government workers who, by the way, under Lord have seen record increases in wages and significant increases in employment.

But the government has been somewhat listless in the past seven years. They are given the Prosperity Plan with no resources to deliver and it fades away. They are given an education plan with no resources to deliver.

The bottom line is that a good civil service needs great political leadership. the politics doesn’t have to get into the bureaucracy – it just needs to set the ball in motion by creating a great vision and key objectives and the properly resourcing the bureaucracy with top talent and financial resources to achieve the vision.

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0 Responses to Invigorating the civil service

  1. MonctonLandlord says:

    One position, the top civil service position, (the Deputy Ministers job and Crown Presidents) keeps getting omitted from the discussions.

    Maybe we can deconstruct the patronidge appointement of the most important job in a Department, rather than look bringing top talent to lead a department.

    A close source told me that in NB, there are only about 3 DM that are non-partisan leaders.

    If the idea of bringing top talent from outside means rewarding partisans from other provinces to increase the national profile of any of the 2 young leaders, maybe we can do without. But if bringing top talent like ex-CEO of EnCana (recently retired Gwyn Morgan, 2005 CEO of the Year) than, we are substantially changing this province.

  2. scott says:

    I think one of Shawn Graham’s best campaign platforms is this idea of bringing in some top talent from outside the province to help recast a vision for New Brunswick and bring in new ideas to invigorate the civil service.

    It may be a good idea in theory, but it is being rejected at the grassroots level in both rural and urban New Bunswick. I’ve witnessed the rage firsthand in seven ridings thus far. The Miramichi area, where I have been for the past week, is adamantly against not using homegrown talent to solve New Brunswick’s critical domestic issues. I think the same sort of groupthink goes for the rest of the province as well.

  3. Cooker Boy says:

    I agree with Scott, plus I can see this strategy being spun to demonstrate the NB Libs have as much cronyism as do their federal cousins.

    Perhaps I am wrong, but the PC’s would be smart to capitalize on that.

  4. Anonymous says:

    That seems a special kind of stupid, because apart from some economic bloggers like yourself (who are few and far between), who exactly did they think would be impressed by that? It’s a far better idea to wait til the election is over then bring in one or two guys. Then you can talk tough about changes needing to be made, etc.

    However, the reality is that ‘outsiders’ may know lots about numbers or strategies, but they don’t know the area or the people. Anybody that thinks Bill Gates would be hugely successful selling tires is quite mistaken. Just because somebody is a success in one endevour doesn’t mean they will continue to be so.

    This is becoming more popular in municipal politics as well, which is why many in rural areas are wary of it. Towns and cities hire a COO to make the tough decisions that elected officials don’t want to make, then they hightail it out of town when it hits the fan. In other words, its hard to hold a guy accountable when he’s just going to take his paycheque and wish you ‘good luck’ on his way to his next job.

    If the ‘groupthink’ needs ‘shaking up’, what does it say about a party leader who says, ‘yeah, well, Bernie could micromanage but I’ve got things to do, so here’s Bob Waloo from Calgary to make my political decisions for me’.

    If things need ‘shaking up’ you damn well stand up and say it. If a department needs shaking up then you shake them and if necessary throw them the *&&^ out. I disagree with the other blog that talks about just how many of these people there are. Those who need the shaking are at the top of the pile, and they are few in number. THere’s hardly a person in the province that wouldn’t agree with that policy, and its virtually a guaranteed in.

    The reality is that the liberals are just a lighter shade of blue (except on gas regulation, then they are bluer than blue) and all their cronies are these bureaucrats and they are all party members and contributors. So if you are waiting for the shake up from Mr. Limpwrist you’ll be waiting awhile. Probably about as long as you are for Harper to change the senate.