Slimming governmentThe Ministry of Public Administration and Security released Thursday a controversial plan to restructure local municipal offices.
It is encouraging that a program to cut the number of local government civil servants has finally been presented. There has been much talk about this proposed program.
The project may encourage reforms in personnel affairs across the country. Some municipal offices are already introducing the reforms to break the rule that civil servants are never fired.
However, the size of the cut and the methods are disappointing. The new administration earlier revealed its wish to cut 60,000 civil workers who were hired during the administration of former President Roh Moo-hyun. More than half work in local government offices.
But the ministry plans to let slightly more than 11,000 civil servants go by the end of this year. What to do next year hasn’t even been examined yet.
The methods to carry out the project don’t reveal a strong will for reform and some don’t seem to be feasible. Most of the targets of the cut were hired as the former administration asked for local government offices to employ extra manpower to carry out special projects such as clarifying suspicious incidents in modern history. While the former administration was in office, the population in 152 local municipalities has decreased, but the number of civil servants in 149 local offices in these districts has increased.
It is likely that many civil servants in such offices are wasting taxpayers’ money. So we need to reform the organization of civil servants, whether in the central or local offices, in accordance with market principles.
We have to prioritize productivity, not the size of the organizations.
A system that allows government agencies to fire their workers at any time might be a good solution.
The Rural Development Administration and some local municipal administration have already adopted this system. Civil servants’ competence and qualifications are frequently evaluated and unqualified workers are filtered out on a continuous basis.
Under this system, human resources are used more efficiently.
We should implement the government’s measures despite opposition from labor organizations. We need reforms in the public sector that will filter out incompetent civil servants to prevent the damage that such workers cause to ordinary citizens.