[EDITORIALS]End ‘parachute’ appointments

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[EDITORIALS]End ‘parachute’ appointments

It has been reported that two prestigious posts, the senior vice chairman of the Advisory Council on Democratic and Peaceful Unification and the president of the Academy of Korean Studies, will be filled by a former lawmaker, Lee Jae-joung, and former minister of education, Yoon Deok-hong, respectively.
During the last presidential race, Mr. Lee worked for the Roh Moo-hyun camp, and he was indicted on charges of accepting 1 billion won ($886,000) from a business to transfer to the party. The court recently sentenced him to pay a 30 million won fine. Mr. Yoon resigned from government and ran in the legislative elections, on the Uri Party ticket, but failed. While appointing one politician who was involved in illegal political fund transactions and another who ran in an election on a certain party’s ticket to such important posts, how can they talk of reform?
The advisory council is a constitutional institute, and the senior vice chairman represents, in place of the chairman, 14,000 advisers in Korea and overseas. It was unfortunate that the outgoing vice chairman stepped down because of the disclosure that he accepted illegal political funds. Nevertheless, a man who was found guilty a few months ago is being appointed to the post. This is an unprincipled policy.
Mr. Yoon created confusion when, as education minister, he promoted the National Education Information System. It is not proper to appoint him to an important post. Aside from them, there are those who failed in the last elections or contributed to the president’s election. And they were appointed to high posts in government-affiliated organizations, creating controvery over such “parachute” appointments. There were even cases in which four politicians were appointed auditors of a science foundation, a post requiring professional expertise, only to be rebuffed sharply.
The current government has always talked about transparent appointments according to ability. President Roh ordered Jeong Chan-yong, personnel affairs adviser, to establish a personnel management system that can be respected even by the next government. He has been to Washington recently to study the American system of selecting high-ranking officials and verifying their qualifications. In practice, however, public posts are distributed like this. We hope that the government adopts a personnel policy in line with common sense.
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