The vicious cycle never ends

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The vicious cycle never ends

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Drivers that park illegally on narrow streets are a pet peeve of mine, and I know I’m not alone. I live at the foot of Mount Bukhan and the 10 meters at the end of our alley is notorious among my neighbors. It’s a spot where you have to take a sharp left turn on a 40 degree slope.

It’s wide enough for two cars to pass, and even a beginner can navigate it without much trouble - as long as there are no illegally parked cars. But one car parked there can completely change the situation. If you’re on your way up the hill and meet a car coming down, the traffic can’t move. This winter was especially challenging because of the heavy snow.

The residents have tried to improve the situation by putting up “No Parking” signs and giving warnings to the car owners. When we used to have resident meetings about 10 years ago, someone would say, “We can’t let this happen. If cars keep parking illegally, the alley is going to turn into a parking lot.”

It’s a classic case of the broken windows theory. If you let little things like vandalism slide in your neighborhood, it may lead to worse crimes. The residents took turns to filing complaints with the District Office to no effect. Parking tickets were issued but new cars kept coming.

The inspector positions at financial companies are often appointed on orders from on high, and at first, retiring Ministry of Finance officials monopolized such posts. The job comes with a high salary and the possibility of serving consecutive terms. It was the perfect retirement plan, so the ministry alums’ monopoly of the coveted position became controversial.

As former finance officials were condemned by the public, retiring Financial Supervisory Service officials moved in. More than half of the retirees from the FSS went on to work for financial companies, so “parachute appointments” became a chronic issue in legislative inspections of government offices. In the end, the FSS banned those leaving the agency from working for financial companies in 2011.

Now that former FSS officials can’t go into the industry, Board of Audit and Inspection workers have filled the vacancy. In the past two years, 12 out of 23 retirees from the BAI found jobs at financial services firms. Parliamentary inspections now focuses on retirees from that organization. In 2009, a former finance ministry official predicted, “Such spots will ultimately go to the board of Audit and Inspection.”

Last year, Shinhan Bank eliminated the post of full-time inspector. It was a decision made after considering candidates who had worked for the BAI and the FSS. It was like cutting off the nose to spite the face. After all, the full-time inspector job may be an essential position that can’t be removed.

But what about the parking violations? We can’t close down the alley to stop cars from blocking it illegally.


*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Yi Jung-jae
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