[EDITORIALS]Let public servants work

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[EDITORIALS]Let public servants work

Korea’s one government official facing retirement, Lee Gyeong-ho, published a memoir that reveals various types of corruptive practice among public servants.
The book contains rather shocking details of public servants’ corruption. Government officials leak information about upcoming public property development projects far before the official announcement, and a television station sets excessively high viewing fees to viewers through a lobby to government officials.
A plan for the national pension fund, which inevitably will run short soon, is pushed ahead under the name of election promises.
Public servants also pocket a massive amount of taxpayer money by creating fake events and business trips on bookkeeping records.
In one of the most galling cases, one former deputy commerce minister spent 2 million won ($2,153) to create his name plaque in the office, which normally would have cost 1,000 won.
Certainly, many of the anecdotes in the book took place in the past, and the public servants’ world has changed considerably since then.
But one can never say for sure that such waste of taxpayer money and corruption are definitely things of the past.
What’s more serious, the “reform effort,” which has become something of a slogan under the current administration, is deterring public servants from doing their jobs properly.
The author of the book said public servants are forced to implement various meaningless paper projects aimed at pleasing top government officials.
The so-called “reform effort” is only designed to please the Blue House and get promotions to a higher position.
And it is a total waste of time for government officials and public servants to search for yet another “reform project” with little substance, while their actual job is set aside.
We still believe that many government officials and public servants are quietly doing their jobs despite small paychecks.
If the administration creates anxiety among them by asking them to do “reform projects,” or other ideal-driven projects, what will be left to the public servants will be only disillusionment and the lure of corruption.
The government should create an environment under which public servants can do their jobs for taxpayers with little distraction.
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