The best boss in the country


Source: EXAME, 22/01/2009

Seduced by a royal package of benefits, such as starting salary of up to R $ 9, the right to job security and full retirement, on the last 500th, around 11 Brazilians interrupted their vacations to take part in a competition for the National Cinema Agency (Ancine), federal government agency. Despite the low degree of competition in film production in the country, the Ministry of Planning authorized Ancine to fill 10 new vacancies for administrative analysts and specialists in cinematographic regulation. The Ancine contest is just one example of the massive expansion of the federal machine underway. Even with the crisis, the Federal Budget for 000 provides for the creation of 55 positions in the public administration, one third of which in the Executive Branch. Since 2009, at the beginning of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's first term, the federal bureaucracy has gained 45 members, an increase of 000% in the number of civil servants. In Brasília, the offices are already so congested that 2003 of the 200 ministries have had to rent property to accommodate new staff. Even more worrying is the fact that, at the end of 000, while the global crisis was already wreaking havoc on the Brazilian economy, cutting 22 jobs in December - the worst in 17 years - and many companies starting the year negotiating deals of reducing work hours and wages so as not to fire, the government approved in Congress another generous package of benefits for civil servants.

The new payment for increases in civil servants - which also benefits retirees and pensioners - will require the Union to pay 29 billion reais more than last year. For comparison, the Bolsa Família program, which reaches more than 11 million families, should cost the public coffers R $ 12 billion this year. Under the agreement, the government has already committed to further increases in the next four years. Thus, in 2011, at the beginning of Lula's successor, the additional bill is expected to rise to R $ 47 billion. According to projections by economist Felipe Salto, from consultancy Trends, expenses with civil servants, which last year were 135 billion reais, equivalent to 4,6% of the gross domestic product, should reach 164 billion, or 5% of GDP, in 2009. "In a scenario of economic slowdown, the increases are extremely worrying," says economist Fabio Giambiagi, a specialist in public finance. “Thanks to strong GDP growth in 2008, the government still has fat to burn this year. If the scenario remains negative, the room for maneuver to close public accounts could narrow dangerously. ”

According to economist Raul Velloso, also a specialist in public accounts, after successive records in revenue, the government should stop collecting at least 20 billion reais this year due to the crisis. "The pattern of spending on civil servants is unsustainable," says Velloso. "If it wants to keep inflation under control, the government has two alternatives: either make an adjustment to the accounts or in a year from now the Central Bank will have to raise interest rates again, damaging economic activity." It is recognized that, when approving the increases and new hires in Congress, the Ministry of Planning included clauses that allow it to cancel new expenses if the Union does not have the resources to finance them. But, given the strength of the civil service, the government will hardly have the pulse to go back, especially when considering the proximity of the presidential election. “The government will have to deliver what it promised,” says Josemilton Costa, secretary general of the Federal Public Service Workers' Confederation (Condsef). "We will fight to guarantee all the agreements signed." With 800 members and a monthly budget of 000 reais, Condsef is linked to Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT), which in turn represents the union arm of the PT, the nucleus of the government.

Spending explosion

Throughout the Lula government, federal civil servants have already achieved about 40% of real wage gains. In Fernando Henrique Cardoso's second term, the gains were 10%. According to Josemilton Costa, since 2007, salary negotiations between the civil service and the government have become easier thanks to the appointment of union leader Duvanier Paiva Ferreira as Human Resources secretary of the Ministry of Planning. A former CUT advisor, Ferreira has maintained permanent negotiations with more than 50 categories of federal employees. Wanted by EXAME, he refused to give an interview.

The readjustments do not benefit all categories at once. "The most generous increases are usually granted at the end of the term, because they remain in the memory of civil servants and their families," says Gil Castello Branco, an economist at the NGO Contas Abertas, which analyzes public accounts. "Functionalism has great electoral weight." As a result, even the opposition parties voted in favor of the latest readjustments. Compared to the private sector, government salaries are quite generous. While the average salary paid by the 150 best companies to work for Guia Você S / A EXAME - a kind of elite in the private sector - is 3 reais, in the Judiciary the average salary is 000. In the Legislative, 15 reais, and in the Executive, of 300 13. “This comparison explains the enormous appeal that public tenders have on Brazilians”, says Mário Fagundes, manager of the Catho group, which acts as an employment agency. “When it comes to senior positions, such as technical or systems analyst, salaries are usually 300% higher than in private companies.” This is the case of the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea), which offers a starting salary of 4 reais to systems analysts. The generosity of the government-employer justifies why, in the last two years, 300 million Brazilians have applied for competitions in the federal, state and municipal civil service - a 70% increase in the number of candidates over the past decade. And thanks to the so-called “joy trains” - the bonuses incorporated into wages - there are, in the National Congress, drivers earning close to 8 reais, income compatible with that of directors of private companies. In the largest companies in the country, experienced drivers who serve on the board usually earn a maximum of R $ 500.

The government pays more

For a large emerging economy like Brazil to prosper, your government needs to rely on an efficient bureaucracy committed to modern governance principles. Of course, as in the private sector, trained professionals are more expensive. “Never before have so many qualified people entered the public service,” says Nelson Marconi, a specialist in public management at the Getulio Vargas Foundation. “The problem comes next. As the human resources policy is inadequate, when starting to work the public employee does not find incentives to remain productive. ” In fact, in the federal machine the bonus policy ignores the principle of meritocracy. “The government has no criteria for increasing,” acknowledges a technician from the Ministry of Planning. “Whoever screams the most and is most intimate with the government's allied base, like the Internal Revenue Service auditors and Federal Police officials, gets bigger increases than the weakest categories, such as education and public health, achieve.” In fact, under pressure from Condsef, the provisional measures that increased wages eliminated performance reviews in the federal civil service.

A global model in terms of public governance, New Zealand spends 2,3% of GDP - half the proportion of Brazil - on civil servants. Countries in Europe and the United States, which have costly bureaucratic machines, are now trying to follow the same path. Implemented in Minas Gerais in 2003, the country's first civil servant performance evaluation program shows consistent results. In the public school system, there was an increase of 5% in students' proficiency in mathematics and 7% in Portuguese. “Due to the achievement of goals, the Minas Gerais civil service has already received 320 million reais in bonuses”, says Renata Vilhena, State Planning Secretary. On the other hand, a dozen or so mining workers who have had a consistently poor performance are being prosecuted and are in danger of losing their jobs. Keeping an eye on the example of Minas, other states are adopting similar programs. It is this path, the search for results and the judicious use of public money, and not the excessive swelling, that the federal machine needs to learn to follow.