[EDITORIALS]More Parachutes, More Problems

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[EDITORIALS]More Parachutes, More Problems

Eleven high ranking officials of Financial Supervisory Service reportedly took new jobs at financial institutions in March, April and May - immediately before the new Public Service Ethics Act took effect. The agency explained that the officials in question did not attempt to avoid the restrictions on employment laid out in the newly established act, but just happened to find the new posts when securities and insurance firms elect their new board members after closing their books in March. Because the financial institutions were looking for outside experts, the FSS says, the officials were hired, but the supervisory service applied no pressure. Those explanations are not persuasive, considering the traditional practices of the Financial Supervisory Service.

Since government agency meddling in financial affairs is largely responsible for the insolvency of financial institutions, it is not appropriate that former FSS officials are finding new offices en masse at financial institutions. Until now, former employees of supervisory organs dominated positions as auditors in banks, securities companies and investment trust firms, directly and indirectly exerting their influence and causing problems with the reliability of audits.

The government is going to adopt more strict rules restricting senior officials of the service from taking posts in related financial institutions three years before and two years after retirement. The FSS has no excuse for putting these officials in new jobs three months before the new rules go into effect. Unless the service gives up its "privileges," it can never regain the trust it has lost.

This bad practice of political appointments is prevalent in our society and shows no sign of changing. Former officials of many government agencies such as the Ministry of Finance and Economy , the FSS and the Bank of Korea occupy offices at many financial institutions. Political appointees run state-run firms;they are often the cause of labor-management disputes and keep the companies from becoming more transparent and competitive. Some may argue that the new Public Service Ethics Act was not in effect, but en masse political appointments through this loophole clearly reflect the deplorable reality of our public service.
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