[EDITORIALS]Major-league cronyism

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[EDITORIALS]Major-league cronyism

Shin Sang-woo, the former National Assembly vice speaker, has to all intents and purposes been named to be the next commissioner of the Korea Baseball Organization.
It is said that at the baseball organization’s board of directors meeting held yesterday, it was decided that Mr. Shin would be officially recommended as the new commissioner at the board’s next meeting on Jan.3, since there were no other candidates.
Prior to the board meeting, Mr. Shin, in an interview with a sports newspaper, made a comment as if he were already the head of the organization, saying, “I wish to work hard for the development of Korean baseball.”
Mr. Shin is a high school alumnus of President Roh Moo-hyun. He has never worked in the sports field, not to mention in baseball. In other words, he is a man with no expertise in the job.
It does not make sense that a man with no credentials is to be appointed as the head of an organization in charge of professional baseball just because he graduated from the same high school as the president. This is an insult not only to those in baseball but to all sportsmen.
The Blue House and Mr. Shin might like to say that the decision was made only by the baseball organization, but no one can believe that Mr. Shin was elected purely by the will of the directors. If the decision was made without the intervention of the Blue House or the president’s close aides, the situation would be an even bigger problem, since this means that even sportsmen, who should be aloof from politics, are politically influenced.
We have until now frequently criticized the government for its regionally-biased personnel appointments. Recently, the government has placed those from South Gyeongsang province ― where the president hails from ― at the center of power or in the head position of government-affiliated institutions, such as Father Song Gi-in’s appointment as the chairman of the Committee to Settle Past History for Truth and Reconciliation. Each time the Blue House has defended itself, claiming that it named the most appropriate person for the job under strict verification.
Surely, due to the nature of power, it is inevitable, to a certain extent, that close aides of the president are appointed. Yet the public would feel despair if the personnel standards of an administration that has persistently advocated reform merely amounts to this. It would be appropriate for Mr. Shin to voluntarily refuse the post of baseball commissioner, since even the Korea Professional Baseball Player Association opposes this decision.
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