Blue House jobs shifted to boost communication

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Blue House jobs shifted to boost communication

With an aim to enhance his administration’s efficiency during the second half of his term and better communicate with the public, President Lee Myung-bak restructured his Blue House secretariat yesterday.

“The president gave an order about a month ago to overhaul the Blue House secretariat to effectively maintain national agendas during the second half of his term,” senior secretary for public affairs Lee Dong-kwan said yesterday.

“We have prepared a plan after listening to various opinions,” Lee said, “and finished the briefing to the president about the reorganization.”

According to the spokesman, the reorganization was designed to serve three purposes. “We wanted to reinforce communication with the people, prepare for the future and develop and implement policies that will help the livelihoods of the middle and working classes,” he said.

While the new organization chart of the secretariat was made public, no names of appointees were announced yesterday. The appointment of the new presidential chief of staff will come by early next week and the secretariat will be filled up later in the week, Lee said.

Chung Chung-kil, the current chief of staff, already expressed his intention to resign in the aftermath of the ruling Grand National Party’s crushing defeat in the June 2 local elections.

The need to better communicate with the public was made apparent from the election debacle, prompting President Lee to strengthen the roles of public and social affairs aides. The restructuring of the secretariat was also aimed at promoting Lee’s philosophy of “people-friendly, centrist pragmatism” as he enters the second half of his five-year term next month.

To improve communication, the Blue House created a post of senior secretary for social integration. “The position is created to listen to the public’s diversified voices with an open mind,” Lee said.

Following the defeat in parliament of the administration’s attempt to revise the Sejong City development blueprint, the position of senior secretary for state affairs planning was discontinued. Two new positions - senior officer for future strategy and senior officer for policy development - were created to push Lee’s remaining big projects, including the four rivers restoration plan.

The future strategy secretary will focus on science and technology, the environment and green growth projects. The policy development secretary will deal with regional development issues and assist the cabinet.

The office of senior secretary for public affairs also saw some changes. Currently, the president has two spokespersons, which will be reduced to one. An overseas public affairs secretary will work in the office, along with secretaries for public affairs and planning and new media.

With Korea’s hosting of the Group of 20 summit in November and Lee’s campaign of “Global Korea,” the overseas public relations function of the Blue House has become increasingly important.

Following the Blue House secretariat overhaul, President Lee is expected to reshuffle his cabinet in the coming weeks. Prime Minister Chun Un-chan met with the president on Saturday and expressed his intention to step down and the president accepted his resignation, a senior government official told the JoongAng Ilbo.

By Ser Myo-ja []
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