[EDITORIALS]Please keep hands cleanThe new heads of local governments assumed their duties Tuesday, following inauguration ceremonies. We expect the local heads to keep their election promises and devote themselves for the well being of residents while keeping their hands clean.
Their primary task is stabilizing the local government organizations, which were disrupted during the local elections. Stabilization is necessary, for many civil servants were involved in the local elections. Since more than half of local government heads were replaced, civil servants likely feel uneasy about the personnel changes. If they do not follow principles of fairness and ability, but change in accordance with the merits during the election, local governments will not function properly. Those elected should reject intervention from the party and political heavyweights about personnel appointments. Instead, they should revitalize their offices by employing a talented workforce.
While it is encouraging to see the local heads showing enthusiasm to accomplish projects they pledged during the campaigns, it should be noted that promoting projects without checking their validity, profitability and financial status could bring burdens to local governments. Lee Myung-bak, the new mayor of Seoul, plans to start work on the restoration of Cheonggyecheon, a river running through the center of Seoul covered with the concrete foundation of the Cheonggye elevated expressway. Mr. Lee also wants to create a park at City Hall plaza. There are many difficult problems, including traffic flow and huge financial costs, that should be solved before such projects are launched. Instead of hurrying the projects, Mr. Lee should prove the practicability of them first.
An Important duty of elected official is improving the quality of residents' lives by developing a local economy. To do that, the officials should be management-minded and execute the budget with efficiency. Also required is maintaining cooperative relations with local governments' superiors and with the central government. Three heads of local governments are under arrest on charges of election law violations and many more are under investigation. We hope the newly elected heads fare better at resisting irregularities and corruption.