[EDITORIALS]Yes, sweat the small stuff

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[EDITORIALS]Yes, sweat the small stuff

Roh Moo-hyun's transition team is already involved in a controversy over cronyism and favoritism in its appointments.

A brother-in-law of a Roh aide and Mrs. Roh's niece have been appointed as a consultant and a working-level team member, but they avoided the "multi-dimensional evaluation" members were supposed to have undergone.

Is that problem so critical, given that their posts are not senior ones? Mr. Roh said the aide's relative had been evaluated individually because he belonged to a local election campaign team and was not subject to the full-blown evaluation. Mrs. Roh's niece, officials said, is being trained to be her secretary.

Details, details, perhaps, but still the personnel policy proclaimed by Mr. Roh has been violated at the outset. Mr. Roh emphasized fairness and transparency in personnel appointments at a training session of the Millennium Democratic Party, saying, "Violators will destroy their families and ruin themselves."

And the people who sidestepped the "multi-dimensional" evaluation are part of the category of "aides and relatives" that Mr. Roh said he would screen the most carefully to prevent irregularities. He has said that he will require family members, including cousins, to disclose their personal assets, establish an office to investigate political corruption, appoint permanent independent counsels and change the culture of cronyism and favoritism in Korean society.

His concern and interest in problems that can be caused by the corruption of aides and relatives comes from observation of the current administration: Many of the corruption scandals it struggled with were triggered by aides and relatives. In these circumstances, Mr. Roh should be more careful even of minor appointments.

We have witnessed many cases in which the whole policy is ruined because a minor principle is not observed. If the first button is in the wrong hole, then the whole suit coat will not fit correctly.
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