[EDITORIALS]High posts are not rewards

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[EDITORIALS]High posts are not rewards

The nomination of former Environment Minister Lee Jae-yong as the president of the National Health Insurance Corporation proved the employment system the government has long said is fair to not be so.
First, this shows the system to invite outside professionals for the posts of government officials is nothing but a cover. As rumors that Mr. Lee had been chosen spread, no outside professionals applied for the post. Staffers at the Ministry of Health and Welfare do not deny that Mr. Lee was pre-selected.
The second problem is choosing from the same pool of figures for different positions, as a reward for their contribution to the ruling party. Mr. Lee was defeated in the last National Assembly election and soon became the environment minister. After failing to be elected as mayor of Daegu, he was selected as president of the insurance corporation. Can election defeat be a career move?
Former President Kim Dae-jung said, “Give positions to those who have capabilities and give rewards to those who contributed.” The posts of a minister and a corporation president who will handle 24 trillion won ($25 billion) cannot be used as rewards.
The third problem is one of questionable professional skill and knowledge. The Blue House said Mr. Lee is an expert on the environment merely because he participated in the environmental movement. What has he done as environment minister? Little, other than acquiring good experience in his preparation to run for the Daegu mayoralty.
Perhaps the ruling party will now call him an expert on health insurance because he used to be a dentist. Chung Tae-ho, spokesman at the Blue House, explained that the administration needed a person who understands the president’s philosophy on managing the country in order to make the corporation’s finances healthy. To run the corporation in a healthy way does not necessarily mean that the president needs to hire a person who shares the same ideology as him. The application system for government officials was made to recruit professionals who could do the job properly.
Among 196 senior-level workers who resigned from the Blue House during this administration, 61 moved to high posts in government bodies or other entities under the administration, or became executive members of private companies or organizations.
The president cannot give away high positions as rewards. We wonder if the administration will still insist that its system for personnel affairs works properly.
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