The Growth of Municipal Administrations Versus the Demographic Decline

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The European Charter of Local Self-Government,1 (hereinafter referred to as “the Charter”) which spells out fundamental principles regarding the organisation and the functioning of self-governing polities, took effect in 1999. 2 Under the Charter, the internal administrative structure and the resources of these governments should correspond to the needs of the local population as well as ensure effective governance.3 However, statistical data shows the growth of municipal bureaucracy despite demographic decline. The present analysis is aimed at spelling out this process in different municipalities, identifying which municipalities should responsibly evaluate their organisational structures and proposing measures for increasing organizational effectiveness.

The research data employed in this analysis was provided by the Civil Service Department of Lithuania. In this dataset, human administrative resources of municipalities fall under the following categories: occupied posts in municipal administrations (including elderships), municipal control and audit departments, and municipal councils. The number of staff includes both civil servants and persons employed under a contract. For the sake of convenience, these employees will be hereafter referred to as the administrative personnel.

When comparing the data of individual municipalities, the research employs a derived indicator – the number of municipal administrative personnel per 1,000 inhabitants. As regards human resources, it is the administrative burden indicator of a municipality. The analysis of the development of this indicator reveals the impact of both the demographic decline and the growth of municipal administrations on the administrative burden in municipalities.

Expert insights, recommendations and proposals are provided via consultations with municipal representatives, research assessments conducted by the Ministry of the Interior, and other resources.

SUMMARY

Although the demographic decline in Lithuania has lasted for over two decades, municipal administrations continue to expand. Since 2011, the ranks of the municipal administrative personnel have grown by 4%. This makes little sense, given that the population declined by 4% in the same period.

This comparative analysis of municipalities demonstrates a connection between the size of a municipality (measured by the number of inhabitants) and the number of administrative personnel per 1,000 inhabitants. Since a certain number of administrative staff is necessary to ensure basic municipal function, this ratio is higher in smaller municipalities. Therefore, a decrease in the number of administrative staff is recommended for Klaipėda District, Mažeikiai, Šilutė, Telšiai, Radviliškis, Ukmergė, Pasvalys, Lazdijai, Ignalina, Skuodas and Pagėgiai municipalities that have a relatively high number of administrative personnel compared to that of the other similar size municipalities.

Since 2011, the number of administrative personnel per 1,000 inhabitants has grown in virtually all Lithuanian municipalities. The biggest growth is observed in Ukmergė, Klaipėda, Akmenė and Skuodas municipalities. This is the result of both demographic decline and growth in municipal administrations. Therefore, the organisational structures should be reconsidered in the municipalities with the biggest growth in the municipal administrations. These are the municipalities of Akmenė, Birštonas, Druskininkai, Jonava, Jurbarkas, Klaipėda, Marijampolė, Mažeikiai, Tauragė, Trakai, Ukmergė and Utena.

However, a reduction in administration and an increase in efficiency should not constitute mere redundancies. These complex decisions should delineate clearly defined areas of activities for each of the departments, staff education and training, regular monitoring of the organisational structure, etc.

Download the full analysis here: Growth_of_Municipal_Administrations

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