[EDITORIALS]Careful when posting officialsThe government will introduce a new personnel management system that will abolish grades 1 to 3 from the civil service ranks, and instead will pay senior civil servants’ salaries according to the importance of their jobs. Under the new system, a grade 3 official can be appointed, according to ability, to the post of an assistant minister filled by a grade 1 before.
Compared with the current seniority system, the new one is revolutionary indeed. The seniority system of civil service society will be destroyed and only those with qualifications and abilities will survive. The purpose lies in emphasizing ability and enhancing productivity through competition. In private businesses, the personnel system that puts the highest priority on achievements has long been in use.
There are two views of the new system. If implemented correctly, the new system will provide an enormous shock and stimulus to an officialdom that is accused of being lackadaisical.
By assuming posts according to seniority, regardless of ability, and moving from one to another till retirement, the so-called “iron bowl” structure, will disappear. The civil servant system will change when competition is introduced and professional expertise and achievement are highly regarded.
But if it is implemented in the wrong way, the government officials’ system will fall into chaos. Under the pretext of managing appointments according to ability, personnel management of civil servants could be swept into the whirlwind of politics.
Under the current personnel system, many senior civil servants are transferred every five years, when the Blue House administration changes. And their appointments are not decided by ability, but by cronyism ― school, regional and power connections.
As the seniority system is respected, a minimum level of order was maintained. Now, the government can appoint anyone above grade 3 to posts of its choice. Apparently, civil servants will find it even harder to keep political neutrality.
In order to settle this system, we should have a fair evaluation system. The success of it depends on fair, objective evaluations of qualifications, abilities and achievements of civil servants and appropriate assignments. This system should be free from political influence and even from the interference from the president. If these conditions are not guaranteed, it will fail.