A waste of our taxes

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A waste of our taxes

The abuse by public servants of the study and training program for meritorious service has become a serious problem.

Every year, thousands of public servants begin their programs only six months or one year before retirement. Last year, 1,900 did so, and about the same number filed applications this year as well.

Tens of billions of won in taxpayer money was wasted paying for their salaries and overseas travel expenses. The North Gyeongsang provincial government spent 3.9 billion won ($2.71 million) on 104 public servants who joined the study and training program this year. The reckless waste of taxpayer money and manpower is lamentable. The program was first introduced in 1993 to retrain public servants to help in their adjustment after retirement.

They are excused from reporting to work and up to 80 percent of their salary is paid. Yet there is no systemic education program such as helping them to acquire a professional license for a new job.

This means that most of those benefiting from the program spend their time playing golf or mountain climbing. Many kill time, meeting up with their friends.

One public servant on the program even complained that he was bored to death staying at home all day long.

The real purpose and justification for the program has disappeared.

The practice of wasting taxpayers’ money on a de facto retired public servant must be abolished immediately. The program is tantamount to special treatment, no questions asked, just because they worked in the public service sector for 30 or 40 years. Such a tradition must end right now.

The economy is on the brink of a crisis. Many people are fearful because layoffs and pay cuts are imminent. How much longer do we have to tolerate the practice of giving special treatment only to public servants?

The training system should be abolished right now and those who want to serve in their posts with pride and honor until the last day before retirement should be allowed to do so.

In order to provide real help for their new lives after retirement, local governments should reinforce vocational education programs.

The government should also implement a new system for public servants whose job performance has fallen as they are nearing retirement so that they can leave their jobs voluntarily.

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