Politics and Bureaucracy in Poland: Political Patronage in Senior Civil Service Posts Appointing

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:20 AM
Room: Booth 45
Oral Presentation
Kaja GADOWSKA , Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
An effective, transparent and accountable public administration is one of the key aspects of rule of law. However, public administration in post-communist states is particularly vulnerable to political patronage and cronyism, due to unequal statutes of political and administrative spheres and underdevelopment of professional civil service. Although the aim of public administration reform in Poland was to shape the civil service corps in such a way as to allow an independent, objective, apolitical and competent group of officers selected in open competition to carry out their tasks regardless of any political changes, political parties try to limit the autonomy of civil service and subject it to their own interests by extending their control of personnel policy into the public administration.

The aim of the paper is to assess to what extent the actual relation between politics and administration reflects the principles contained in the consecutive Acts on civil service. The paper concentrates on the policy towards senior posts in civil service, especially directors generals and directors of the departments in ministries, other central institutions and regional offices as these positions are critical to gain direct control over civil service by politicians. Special attention will be dedicated to identifying the practices of subsequent governments aimed at employing political appointees in senior positions in public administration. Such analysis will allow for evaluation of the practical effects of the respective Acts on the professionalization of the Polish civil service as well as to determine the institutional model that serves best the autonomy of Polish public administration.

The paper is based on the results of the research project financed by the Ministry of Science in Poland: the empirical data gathered from a series of in-depth interviews with public officials, press content analysis, expert reports analysis, and analysis of legal framework of civil service functioning.