[EDITORIALS]Lining up at the troughExecutive positions at government-run corporations are not war trophies for a political party that has won a presidential election. But Chyung Dai-chul, a member of the Millennium Democratic Party's supreme council, said that the new Roh Moo-hyun administration would recommend MDP members for 250 to 300 executive jobs at state-run companies and organizations affiliated with government ministries.
Mr. Chyung added the condition that the positions offered to MDP members would be "limited to posts that require reform-mindedness" and that only those who pass the party's personnel screening committee would get the jobs. That will satisfy few people.
Many state-run companies are losing money and require taxpayer money to cover the losses. That poor performance resulted from personnel policies of past administrations, which made executive appointments regardless of whether the appointees were professional enough or had the managerial ability to do their jobs properly.
It is also anachronistic to subject state-run companies to favoritism at a time when the government is trying to restructure and revive them.
President-elect Roh's transition committee denied Mr. Chyung's statement that the incoming president had agreed to the MDP's plan. Although the transition team said that not many MDP officials would get those jobs, the public still remains dubious because of Mr. Chyung's position in the ruling party and the experience in past administrations. The new administration should be aware that the Kim Dae-jung administration lost people's support mainly because of its cronyism.
In order to prevent the criticism that would follow the appointment of ruling-party officials to those posts, the government should seek a public consensus about the scope of and qualifications for such positions before making appointments through a strict and transparent screening process. That would accelerate the president-elect's policy of reforming state-run companies.