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Flinn

The Dude goes into politics! - The Ugly Beast

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Part 4 - The Grim Reality.

Truth be told, I was not really sure if to post about this or not, because the topic is incredibly boring, to me at the least: bureaucracy.

Have you ever had a nightmare, where a black indefinite monster pursue you till you cannot escape it and you eventually wake up screaming? Well, that's what bureaucracy is to me: a ugly beast, a monster you cannot escape and with which you have to deal at a certain point, no matter how stinky it will be. I've always avoided anything bureaucratic in my life, whenever I could, and when I couldn't, I limited my interactions to the minimum possible. Unfortunately for me, being today a public administrator, I'm literally buried in bureaucracy: if you ask me, I can tell you that the main doubt I had when I was thinking if to embark myself in this adventure or not, was indeed the crude fact that, no matter what I would do, I'll have to deal with this beast.

What's so wrong about bureaucracy? erm.. everything? I mean, what could be possibly right about a system that is flawed, slow, unnerving and totally inefficient? Ok, I'm biased I know.. I'm a old fashioned dude, I run my own vineyard and I try to live an easy and relaxed life... from the other side I'm a business man as well, and efficiency is the key of success in business.. no matter the angle I see it, bureaucracy is my nemesis, my nightmare. Let me be more specific: it's not just bureaucracy in itself, it's about Italian bureaucracy... now, unless you are coming from Alpha Centauri, you should know what I'm talking about... a huge, terrifying, ever-changing monster that can actually surprise you many times in a day. The absurdity of our bureaucracy is something astonishing, to the point that it appears evident that it's not just a matter of inefficiency, but of manipulation and exploitation as well...

Whatever the cause, the effect is always the same: every time you have to deal with something "public", you have to be prepared to everything, literally. It's difficult to give you some examples without being repetitive or extremely boring, but I will try in any case, just so that you can have a glimpse of the distorted logic of what I have to deal with on a daily basis.

- it's not a news that Italy has a high level of corruption, even Alpha Centaurians know it.. personally I don't believe it possible to fight it without a change of culture and mentality (which starts from new generations, with a proper civil education), however the national government decided to introduce a relatively new system to "limit" corruption in public tenders.. let me explain you where the issue is: imagine that you are a public employee on a Municipality, and that you are putting up a public tender for some public works (i.e., building a new school).. technically it is possible for you to facilitate one participant over the others (via various means, like letting them know which offer is the cheapest or by finding quibbles to remove one or more participants from the tender).. this happened many times in the past in various places in Italy and it's an infamous trick to exploit public works. Now, what do they come out with as a "solution"? They created a "Committee" composed of representative of various neighboring (or in any case not far away) Municipalities to control each other during said public tenders... Ok it might just be me that I'm mean, but imagine the situation: rather than one single person to bribe, you now have six.. besides, you need six scrutinies, six signatures and bla bla.. and what if one or more of those members are political rivals (within the Administration of their municipalities, I mean)? It's easy to mess the things up, if one really wants..

- shortly we'll have to replace 2 employees of the Municipality that are retiring (one administrative and one Officer); both are very important roles, the former is probably the one that has the most of the contacts with the public and the only one that has a daily work to do (papers, IDs, etc), the latter is the direct representative of the State within the Municipality, so their signature (authorization I mean) is often needed for both public and private stuff within the territory of the Municipality.
Now, before we can actually run the public bid for both positions, we have to wait for them to retire... then there will be some months reserved for applications and the actual exam, plus few more weeks before they can actually take up the job.. during this period, all their duties will remain untended and there will be a big disservice for the public. For the administrative role, one could possibly avoid the long inactivity by either finding (and convincing) someone who's already a public employee in another Municipality to work on overtime for a minimum cover of the most urgent services (like death certificates), for the Officer role one could possibly avoid completely the public bid, by picking the first name of a permanent merit ranking/list, the issue is that this decision is appealable by a logic which no one can understand, so most of the times it results to be counterproductive...

Dude, even having to write about these things makes me shiver, I swear! However, you got the point... the problem with bureaucracy is that it is "written" by people that do not have a real contact with the reality, they just get inputs from outside and transform them in rules and laws. Because of this disconnection, it's impossible for it to be efficient, heck most part of the times it's completely inefficient, to the point that having no bureaucracy would be better than having a flawed one. You can't imagine how often one has to redo or even to make something anew (a project, a report, a plan, whatever) because the fallacious bureaucratic procedure does not take into account some possible issues, which will only become evident once the work is well advanced

So you now got an overview of what's the situation.. as I said I'm frustrated, but I won't give up; I swore to myself that I'll achieve at the least one major project during my 5 years, and I'm actually working hard on that.. as you will see in the next chapter "What will I be remembered for?".

Updated September 16, 2019 at 08:47 AM by Flinn

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Comments

  1. Flinn's Avatar
    Part 5 has been posted a bit in advance compared to the other chapters; I was unsure, as I say on the blog itself, if to post or not this part, but once I decided to do so, I had to post it shortly after Chapter 4, this because the arguments discussed in the two chapters go together, IMO.

    I won't say enjoy the reading, because there's nothing to enjoy, about bureaucracy..
  2. Lusitanio's Avatar
    State bureaucracy sometimes can be a pain to deal with...
  3. Flinn's Avatar
    it's always a pain
  4. Love Mountain's Avatar
    I really feel you on this Flinn, having worked and working in government myself. It can be slow, ponderous, and at times, just plain stupid. Having said that, I always enjoyed helping people and despite the, occasionally, meaningless nature of my work, I felt like what I did mattered. Sometimes that was for the worse, but a lot of the time, I felt I helped the world be just a tiny bit better. Do you think you could find somewhere better to be? Somewhere where you could do more good or do something that matters?
  5. Flinn's Avatar
    Do you think you could find somewhere better to be? Somewhere where you could do more good or do something that matters?
    is this rhetoric?

    Suki, you are most probably living in an Anglo-Saxon country.. imagine what nightmare could be in Italy