Reforming Prague City Hall: The Efforts of Mayor Jan Kasl to Increase Transparency and Fight Corruption (A) Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

In November 1998, Ian Castle, a successful architect and former City Council, was a surprise choice of his party for mayor of Prague, capital of Czech Republic. Virtual political unknown, Kasl was selected for the post only after the presiding mayor was rejected by the other political parties in the negotiations to form a coalition government. Given the inexperience of Kasl and low profile, most observers assumed that it will be a quiet figure, following in the footsteps of his predecessor and once the party line. Castle, however, had other ideas. While a relative newcomer in the government, Kasl has long been frustrated by what he regarded as the opacity of city operations and outraged suspected abuse by those in power. Shortly after his appointment, Kasl promised to do his best to open the city government and stop conflicts of interest, lack of accountability and shady deals he believed damaged the image and effectiveness of City Hall. To do this, however, he will have to figure out how to overcome the significant institutional and political obstacles, without causing a political reaction that can stymie all progress, or even to force him from office. What is better for a leader of reform to confront antagonists and rely on government support to make changes? Or over, coalition building strategy will be more pragmatic and effective? Or, to borrow from the successful reforms of both approaches? In addition to these leadership issues, this case is a window into the political life of the post-socialist countries of Eastern Europe, the so-called "New Europe" and provides tools for the analysis of the question, is the best structure for local government in the recent democratization (and decentralization) state. HKS Case Number 1797.0 "Hide
by Susan Rosengrant, Merilee Grindle 9 pages. Publication Date: July 22, 2005. Prod. #: HKS472-PDF-ENG

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