Bureaucrat baloneyVoluntary mergers that integrate neighboring cities or counties into larger economic zones are likely to hit some choppy waters, at least at the outset.
Forty-six cities and counties from 18 regions across the country submitted proposals by last month’s deadline to voluntarily merge.
However, there has been plenty of resistance from cities and counties that oppose such moves, and it’s unlikely to diminish. What’s interesting is that the opposition arises not from local residents but from public officials, some of whom are motivated by selfish reasons.
For example, the chief of one township attended a joint session of villages to prevent a merger from happening. Another village head tried to persuade those who signed their names to a merger proposal to change their stance. And some public officials are circulating false rumors about mergers.
There are even cases in which public officials and representatives have taken money to sponsor activities by civic groups that oppose the mergers.
Because of this unfair interference of government bureaucrats, residents who agree to a voluntary merger hardly have a proper opportunity to express their own views on this matter, aside from attending public hearings starting this week.
As mentioned innumerable times, these mergers should be considered by focusing on the convenience they can provide the public and whether they can maximize administrative efficiency.
In cases where voluntary mergers are implemented, special incentives will be given, including numerous benefits related to grant taxes. Additionally, the government pledged to maintain the number of public officials at a fixed level for 10 years, so opponents have no reason to be agitated, as jobs will not simply vanish.
Against this backdrop, the opposition by certain heads of local governments against voluntary administrative mergers - for the sake of their own interests and against the will of local residents - will hamper local development and should be considered as anti-society and anti-nation crimes that fly in the face of social integration.
The heads of relevant local governments should immediately hold fair public hearings to get the opinion of a majority of local residents. In addition, the national government should conduct a thorough investigation of whether officials at the local levels improperly used government power. If such offenses are found, the government should inflict severe punishment. We should not tolerate this type of behavior on such an important issue.