A balanced cabinetThe Lee Myung-bak administration’s vision of the future cabinet was revealed after the names of the prime minister, the chief of staff and senior presidential secretaries were announced. Cabinet members haven’t been officially named yet because the government restructuring bill has not passed the National Assembly, but the list of 14 ministers released unofficially by the president-elect’s camp might as well be regarded as confirmed.
The members of the new Cabinet and the new officials in the Blue House have rich experiences, fancy educational backgrounds and professional skills, and knowledge of their fields. The prime minister, minister of education and science, and economics minister will all be economics experts. The foreign affairs circle, such as the senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security and the foreign and reunification ministers, reveals the determination to restore the Korea-U.S. alliance and to normalize relations with Japan.
However, there are some flaws. Too many of the future high officials in the Blue House and the cabinet are professors. The former military administrations hired many professors to complement their fragile legitimacy and lack of support base. One wonders why the same measure is needed now.
Among the former ministers and senior presidential secretaries who were professors before entering office, not many have excelled as government officials.
Also, half of the ministers-to-be have masters degrees from U.S. universities and six out of seven senior secretaries have American doctoral degrees. There is nothing wrong with being highly educated, but it is worrying if state affairs are steered toward the United States to an unreasonable extent.
Whenever personnel affairs are publicized, there is talk about the relationship between the president-elect and those employed. For instance, people talk about how they were born in the same area, went to the same college or go to the same church. The new president must have a sense of balance and hire people from different areas, schools and religious backgrounds. All 10 people who are to be employed as ministers are in their sixties. Some say it is good for stable management of state affairs, but others say there is a lack of fresh blood and imagination.
It is difficult to get good evaluations across the board when it comes to personnel affairs because it is hard to please everyone. But problems in the employment of ministers should be balanced out when hiring vice presidents and presidential secretaries.