24 city officials will be re-educated

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24 city officials will be re-educated

The Seoul city government yesterday said 24 city officials will be put through a re-education program for lacking integrity and diligence in the workplace.

The targeted officials include both lower- and higher-level civil service officials, with 14 servants under level six, five in level five, and one in level four of Korea’s nine-grade public servant system. The highest level is one. The workers are in their 40s and 50s; only one is female.

The government’s measures are aimed at enhancing transparency, ensuring integrity in city affairs and rooting out incompetence. Seoul civil servants can be put on the re-education list for taking bribes, having conflicts with co-workers, being unable to fulfill their duties and being lazy.

The regulations say that even one instance of corruption is enough earn a worker six months in re-education, regardless of the size of the bribe or his or her post. Whether the civil servants will be able to return to work is determined after the re-education is complete, and depends on an evaluation of how much each has changed.

The city government began the re-education program in 2007 and Park Mun-gyu, an official in the personnel affairs division, said the number of civic workers who enter re-education is declining year by year. In 2007, 102 workers underwent re-education, and 62 managed to keep their jobs. In 2008, 72 out of 88 public service workers returned to their positions and last year 33 out of 44 workers resumed work.

“Since the program was launched three years ago, about a quarter of the re-educated civic workers were removed from their posts and that has actually improved work performance and the attitudes of public service workers,” Park said. “We’re noticing the program has changed the mind-set of public service workers and improved the organization’s integrity.”

Simply completing re-education doesn’t mean the public service workers’ jobs are safe. The government monitors the performance of the workers who complete the program.

In January, the city government asked 260 supervisors and colleagues to evaluate 72 workers who returned to work in 2008 after a re-education period. Ninety percent said their returned colleagues and subordinates had achieved average work levels.

By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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