Stop parachute appointments

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Stop parachute appointments

Revolving-door appointments are rampant in public organizations amid a leadership vacuum. As many as 56 bureaucrats have landed in executive seats at public enterprises since November after President Park Geun-hye was impeached by the National Assembly. Amid laxity in watch, retiring officials have used the revolving door to land executive jobs in public institutions.

Of 28 CEO appointments in public enterprises during this period, 21 came from the government. In December 2013, Hyun Oh-seok, then deputy prime minister, declared that the parachute bash is over. It turns out the party has never stopped. Public institutions must not pose as retirement security for government officials.

The CEO position should be open to someone proven for entrepreneurship and experience. The government runs a steering committee under the Ministry of Finance and Strategy and turns to an advisory board in recruiting executives for 330 public institutions. But given actual practices, that system looks to be just a formality.

The latest appointments suggest public enterprises are reserved as post-retirement safety. Upon retiring from the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, Kim Kyu-ok ran economic affairs at Busan Metropolitan Government and then landed the top seat at Korea Technology Finance Corporation. The new head of Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Corporation Lee Kwan-sup was a former vice minister for industry, trade and energy.

Questionable appointments lead to management instability and a clash with employees. Lee Yang-ho, a former agriculture bureaucrat who headed the Rural Development Administration, is challenged by the union of the Korea Racing Authority. Park Young-ah, former head of Korea Institute of Science and Technology Evaluation and Planning, has filed a lawsuit against the government, claiming she was unable to extend her term due to a revolving-door replacement. The Ministry of Strategy and Finance is demanded to separate the steering committee on public institutions to ensure independence. The government must take fundamental steps to end the poor tradition.

JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 16, Page 30
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