Greed in public officeAt the end of every administration, we are confronted by a familiar scene: public servants taking sides.
Those already in government are determined to hold onto their posts, while those not in government are trying to pick the candidate who’s likely to win the election, and so ensure a better life for themselves.
We are treated to this spectacle because the problems are inherent.
A public servant who’s good at picking sides can expect a successful career, and for dozens of years newcomers have watched their seniors carve out comfortable positions simply by being good at choosing the right people to follow.
Juniors have witnessed how easy it was for their seniors to flatter their way into ministerial and lawmaker posts.
It is clear that these people will stop at nothing when it comes to pulling strings to get what they want. They mention the names of the universities they’ve graduated from and the towns they grew up in to impress people who they believe will gain power.
During the Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung administrations, public servants often name-dropped regions and democracy fighters in a bid to land top posts.
During the Roh administration, they tried to relate to the “386 generation” politicians to get what they wanted. To succeed, they had no qualms about denying their own political stance. What matters most is that you make sure you are on the winning side, and you check your own beliefs at the door.
This year is no exception. Some presidential candidates said they are refusing to accept more people.
In Gwacheon, where the construction ministry is located, public servants have started complaining about land development and real estate policies, key issues that the Roh administration tried to tackle. They spoke out during Roh’s term, even though they knew the policies were wrong.
Since government ministries are also busy picking sides for the next administration and the entire bureaucracy is only concerned with its own survival, we are worried that no one is keeping an eye on the affairs of state.
This is why the next administration should end this shameful tradition. Public servants who are blinded by greed should not be allowed to keep their positions, and the presidential candidates should rid their camps of people who are seeking only to better themselves rather than the country.
The next government must select public servants who will serve faithfully.