Program Director and Special Adviser, Brazilian Ministry of Administration and State Reform
Inter-ministerial coordination, Training, Sequencing Reform, Civil Service Recruitment, Performance Management System, Downsizing
technical assistance, computerization, performance management, decentralization, inter-ministerial coordination, downsizing, agencies, NPM, New Public Management, accountability
Fri Sep 17 2010
Ciro Fernandes recounts his experience in Bresser-Pereira's team in the Ministry of Administration and State Reform. The initial reform team was recruited from pools in the larger civil service bureaucracy, the Secretariat for Federal Administration that served as immediate basis for the Ministry, and Bresser-Pereira's university network. The first mandate under President Cardoso focused on articulation of specific goals for the reform program, including (i) decentralization of public administration, especially for service delivery; (ii) development of performance indicators with support from international consultants; (iii) reform of the hiring process for civil servants; and (iv) strengthening of the civil service core through enhanced recruitment strategies. Fernandes identifies the reform blueprint of Plano Diretor as the most significant product of the reform inasmuch as the ideas contained therein have served as bases for a long-lasting revolution in thinking about public administration. Under Fernandes' direction, there was a coordinated and three-pronged media outreach strategy predicated on (i) a magazine targeting a wide audience of practitioners, (ii) a collection of papers for specialists who may be interested in replicating the reform, and (iii) a website in a decade when the potential of the internet remained largely untapped. Due to this visibility, Bresser succeeded in putting civil service at the top of the agenda of the reform-focused Cardoso administration. However, during the second mandate there were significant challenges to implementation. The main sources of resistance were civil service unions and specific advisers in the executive and legislative branches who identified managerial reform with the neoliberalism they denounced. Fernandes discusses specific implementation challenges in decentralization through creation of state-funded, administratively autonomous social organizations, as well as through creation of executive agencies. In both cases, the difficulties in establishing pilots and managing anxiety among the personnel contributed to limited successes. In this climate, the Ministry was ultimately absorbed by the Ministry of Planning. The resulting discontinuity among the key reform managers frustrated successful implementation of the reform at the federal level. Nonetheless, the dispersion of the reform team resulted in further dissemination of the key ideas of the Plano Diretor as the reform staff was incorporated into other teams at the state level.
A career civil servant, Ciro Fernandes worked as a project manager for the Ministry of Social Security. He joined the newly-created Ministry of Administration and State Reform under Fernando Henrique Cardoso.