[EDITORIALS]Pork-barrel commissions

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[EDITORIALS]Pork-barrel commissions

A slew of commissions, eight major and hundreds of minor ones, were launched by the current administration but have become white elephants. Some organizations are even blamed for fueling distrust and disputes among government agencies, rather than helping them carry out policies. Some commissioners are said to be doing nothing.

In its early years, the Kim Dae-jung administration made downsizing the government a goal. While closing a number of state-funded commissions, the government established five commissions headed by minister-level officials - on human rights, suspicious deaths at earlier administrations' hands, small business, corruption and the civil service - and three advisory panels. Those new commissions brought the number of government organizations and employees back to the starting point, and the increase in senior positions led to more personnel outlays. Some commissions launched with fanfare have been reduced to mere symbols - or roadblocks.

The organizations were set up for political reasons, not after a thorough study of whether they were really necessary or whether their jobs duplicated those of other government agencies. Some may have been set up as political rewards to supporters or to encourage grass-roots support for the administration.

With just about a year left in President Kim's term, some commissions have not even drawn up organization charts or decided how many people they need to do their business.

But the government shows no signs of overhauling unnecessary commissions. What is it going to take to address the issue of hundreds of idling workers, not to mention the waste of taxpayers' money? This kind of management of government organizations, personnel and budgets is the height of irresponsibility.

Government organizations and manpower should not be the spoils for a group that has taken power. It is dereliction of duty to leave the current situation as it is in order to give favors to a handful of people. Commissions that create feuds within the government and waste money must be closed down immediately.
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