Public Administration and Local Government in Post-Communist Era in Albania and Macedonia (Published)
Public administration reform is one of the main elements of structural reforms in the public sector, in an effort to achieve long-term sustainability of public finance and establish a sound business environment and to increase the quality and efficiency of the public services to the citizens.Public Administration Reform is a very broad concept a very comprehensive and include process changes in areas such as organizational structures, decentralization, personnel management, public finance, results-based management, regulatory reforms, revision of the civil service statute ect. Decentralization is a very important element of the Public Administration Reform as a whole and have a high importance in the entire process. Because of this importance and the big complexity of the issue in this paper I will analyze only the decentralization and local government reform as part of Public Administration Reform. All other pillars that represent Public Administration Reform needs also a special and deep analyze as well. From the mid-1980s onwards, a wave of decentralization reforms swept across the developing world, aimed at transferring responsibilities, resources and authority from higher to lower levels of government. In April 1996, the United Nations General Assembly, at its resumed 50th session, adopted resolution 50/225 on Public Administration and Development. The resolution confirmed the vital importance of strengthening public administration. Decentralization of governance is an important part of the process. Decentralization and local governance are recognized as basic components of democratic governance as providing the enabling environment in which decision-making and service delivery can be brought closer to local people and a very important piller of Public Administration. Decentralized governance is commonly regarded as a process of transferring powers, functions, responsibilities, and resources from central to local government and other entities on local level. From the organizational point of view, it is a process of restructuring of authority, so that there is a system of co-responsibility between institutions of governance at the central, regional and local levels, thus increasing the overall quality and effectiveness of the system of governance, while increasing the authority and capacities of sub-national levels. Decentralized governance provides the legal, administrative and fiscal frameworks for the empowerment of people and their institutions at sub-national levels, from regional to local.The Millennium Declaration, upon which the Millennium Goals are based, recognizes democratic governance, of which public administration is a key component, as central to the achievement of these goals.Each country followed its own trajectory related to historic legacies, geographic features, political factors, and prevailing socio-economic conditions and culture. This paper presents the characteristics of Public Administration and Local Government Reforms in Albania and North Macedonia (all countries of Western Balkan) in Post-Communist Era. In Western Balkan, part of the former Soviet Union, decentralization has been part of the political and economic transformation process, after 1989/1990 from a socialist system to a market economy and had to cope with three fundamental transformations; from a centrally planned state economy to a private market economy; from authoritarian centralized rule to a pluralist democracy; and from party and state-dominated societal organization to a relatively autonomous civil society. Additionally this countries face two development challenges: first, emerged from a decade of conflict and crisis, which influenced the economic, social and political life and structures and second, delayed transition from their socialist systems presents specific significant needs regarding reforms in their economies and public administration. The methodology used is the descriptive one as well as, analyze and comparative, based on secondary empirical data. The conclusion of this paper is that during the last years it is evident a visible progress regarding local government decentralization reform in counties analyzed. This progress has also positively affected their membership status towards EU. But the progress made so far has been slow and is still far from real decentralization parameters. Burdened with ethnic and nationalist conflicts the decentralization reforms are characterized by fragmented structures with unclear division of levels and powers, and non-existent accountability mechanisms.