[EDITORIALS]How not to run an agency

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[EDITORIALS]How not to run an agency

The Korea Newspaper Circulation Service, an organization under the Culture Ministry, has reportedly used money it borrowed on its own for its operating funds. The director of this organization admitted that he borrowed 250 million won ($260,100) from personal contacts and relatives in order to continue works that were already in progress. He added that other senior officials of the agency had also chipped in and that they did so because the Ministry of Planning and Budget did not give it the budget it had promised.
We cannot understand how a government organization can operate in this fashion. How can a government-affiliated agency have no standards on accounting, or lack any regulations on management procedures? Moreover, it is pathetic that these funds were raised in an irregular manner and yet never came to the attention of the board of directors.
The Korea Newspaper Circulation Service was established last year, as mandated by law, in order to regulate and ensure the fair delivery of newspapers. The service is required to raise half of its funds from the newspaper companies that are enlisted as its members; the other half is budgeted by the government. In a sense, it is run like a matching fund. This arrangement was set up to prevent the management firm from favoring one particular private newspaper.
However, its member companies have never paid a single penny, which is why the central government had not executed the budget.
But if that was the reason, the organization should have not borrowed money privately to continue its work, and should rather have simply shut down. There is no reason to continue work that does not fit regulations. Creating a joint newspaper delivery center is not such an immediate national project that rules and regulations have to be disregarded to make it happen.
The more serious problem is that the Blue House, having heard about the organization’s irregular activities, did not set them straight. Instead, it scolded the Culture Ministry. Its reason for doing so, it appears, was that the head of the organization was dipping into his own pocket to keep the agency going but that the Culture Ministry wasn’t doing its duty in preventing these kind of problems from occurring. That is certainly putting the cart way before the horse.
Are these the actions of a normal government? Not even a regular company ― not even a mere alumni gathering ― could operate this way.
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