[EDITORIALS]Uri joins the chorusThe chairman and the vice chairman of the policy board of the Uri Party have criticized the administration’s use of “parachute appointments” in filling public posts. The appointment of unsuccessful bidders for elected offices and other friends of the administration, they said, undermine the operations at public agencies.
Such appointments have often been criticized by the political opposition and the media, and the Blue House has always been on the defensive. It would say that appointment of like-minded people was natural and did not undermine the professionalism of government agencies.
Then what is this bitter counsel from the president’s own party? In particular, the chairman of the policy committee has served as finance minister and has looked into management problems at public offices for a very long time. He said, “Some people think that politicians can do the job of audit and inspection, but that is not the case.” This is a very tough criticism coming directly from his bureaucratic experience.
The appointment of political auditors has been a big problem. Using logic that says auditors and inspectors should be outsiders rather than insiders, many political figures have been placed in these high-ranking positions. In this administration, 40 such positions have been filled by political friends, such as a former lawmaker who was unsuccessful in the last election, a former member of President Roh Moo-hyun’s election committee, a former member of the Uri Party and a former secretary of the Blue House are examples. They earn, on average, $137,000 in their new jobs.
The problems at public offices these days aren’t limited to this. Although their operating results are very poor, there is no hesitation in giving a pay raise to the employees. Although the chairman of the audit board should prevent these moral hazards and impudence in breaking away from the right path, these politically appointed ‘parachute’ figures just let the problems go by with loose logic. If public offices need an outside watchdog, he should be chosen from one of the neutral figures who are hard at work, not political people who are so loose.
The ‘parachute’ appointment question, now raised frankly by the governing party, is a new phase in affairs. It shows that the distorted logic of the current government is not accepted even from the inside.
The government should reconsider its ‘parachute’ policies by listening to these exhortations.