[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Civil servants must retain their political neutralityAfter the National Assembly voted for the impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun, the Korean Government Employees Union and the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers Union declared that they opposed the impeachment, and that they backed a certain political party. I regret such moves, as another public servant.
Civil servants and teachers can have their own political views or beliefs. It is their right, guaranteed by the Constitution. But the National Government Employees Act bans public servants from doing political activities. This law has much meaning.
Public servants have frequent contact with civilians to solve their problems. So they are more rigorously required to obey laws and maintain political neutrality. Teachers are guiding students who are not fully grown, and have great influence on their students, and their students’ parents. So such people need to stand neutral, even if the law does not oblige them to do so.
But all government employees, except for the police officers and soldiers, are throwing themselves into the political turmoil, aggravating the already confused situation. So the general public is worrying about such moves.
I doubt the views expressed through the political declarations by the Korean Government Employees Union and the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers Union are in accordance with the opinions of all the public servants and teachers under the groups.
If they were the views of only some central leaders of the unions, other members of the unions could make counterdeclarations to show the leaders’ wrongfulness, as some regional associations of lawyers expressed views to oppose declarations by the Korean Bar Association.
by Seong Nak-eun