Italian Public Administration is collapsing

And I still dare dream it happens in the right way.

Italian Public Administration is collapsing /img/clerk-19th-century.jpg

The italian state sector has reached the limit of survival, says Carlo Mochi Sismondi:

  1. the average age of public employees is high enough that hundreds of thousands of them will retire in the next 5/10 years
  2. but [besides other problems] there is very high uncertainty around both recruiting, and renewal of employees contracts 3, if the corresponding budget is unblocked, “5000,000 people will enter [italian] administrations in the next three years”.
  3. but, and this is the point of that article, if done as usual the new recruitments may create or perpetuate problems, rather than solving them

Mr. Mochi Sismondi, who is president of FPA, a consulting and service company that studies and supports public administration, warned against running public exams to replace those who leave before checking that the professional skills are what they really need. As things stands today, italian public administrations (PAs):

  • do not need other graduates in law or related subjects ““because we have enough of them”
  • what PAs need, instead, is “professional profiles adapted to the new strategic choices”

So far, nothing unexpected. The most interesting part is what Mochi Sismondi said next. Italian PAs need a serious redesign, and there is no time or money to get things wrong and start over. In such a scenario,

“Will the 500,000 new entries be able to change course [of italian PAs]? Probably not… because two and a half million old, unmotivated, less qualified employees than their European colleagues, drowned in a Byzantine context, will remain in their place."

Therefore, he says, it is necessary (among many other proposals I mostly agree with) “to quickly reopen the chapter of on-the-job training of public workers”.

Full disclosure: I really would not mind contributing to that training of public workers.

But regardless of that, I am happy to hear such an eminent voice as Mochi Sismondi declare something very similar to what I wrote last year: the biggest obstacle to renewal is not lack of personnel, but permanence of obsolete, when not seriously harmful, “knowledge” and methods.

The employees who have nothing else to contribute should not be kicked out their offices to starve, of course. But for what is worth, my own personal feeling is that, in many cases, assisted early retirement would be much less expensive, for Italy, than retraining. MUCH less, in the medium/long term at least.

In any case, those knowledge and methods (not the people) are, as I said, camels whose backs deserve to be broken. Be it with training or retirement, the sooner the better.

Image source: Screenshots from “Voter fatigue in New York”