Gov’t announces change in rules on official carsAfter the JoongAng Ilbo criticized government officials who spent taxpayer money to exchange their official cars for brand-new luxury ones, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security announced Thursday it will expand the mandatory use of official vehicles from five years to seven years and that the vehicles must have logged at least 120,000 kilometers (74,565 miles) before being replaced.
Under the previous rules, vehicles could be replaced if they were used for more than five years, regardless of their mileage.
The JoongAng Ilbo reported on April 9 that in February, the Incheon government purchased a new car for the mayor - who already had two cars, one bought in August 2008 and one in January 2009 - because Mayor Song Young-gil said his other cars were uncomfortable.
On April 23, the JoongAng Ilbo also reported that the head of Incheon’s Jung District spent 52 million won ($47,772) on a Hyundai Genesis in early April, even though the official already had a Ssangyong Chairman luxury car, purchased in September 2007, and a Hyundai Grandeur, which was purchased in 2004.
On Feb. 10, the JoongAng Ilbo reported that Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Mayor Lee Jae-myung, who had declared a moratorium on 520 billion won owed for a City Hall complex built by the state-run construction company Korea Land and Housing Corp., spent 60 million won of city money in December 2010 on a Chairman, as soon as the previous one had been used five years.
According to the Public Administration Ministry, there are about 29,000 government vehicles in use nationwide. The ministry said the new rules will take effect in July. The ministry also said it will encourage government officials to purchase eco-friendly vehicles, and plans to start a campaign called “No driving day,” in which officials don’t drive on a fixed day during a week.
By Kim Hee-jin [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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