Get out your parachutes (kor)

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Get out your parachutes (kor)

Worries about the Moon Jae-in administration repeating the bad practices of the past — so-called “parachute appointments” in the public sector — are growing. The government tries to replace not only heads of public corporations but also CEOs of non-governmental organizations. The positions are given to powerful former civil servants or politically connected people, who bring political pressure to the companies.

There was a rumor Wednesday that the Moon administration is preparing to force out the chairman and CEO of the Korea Racing Authority, Lee Yang-ho, who has been serving as head of the horse-racing entity for less than a year, to fill the position with Kim Nag-soon, a former lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Party and aide in Moon’s campaign.

This is probably just the start. The heads of 334 government-run agencies are nervous about their jobs, particularly if they were appointed by the conservative Park Geun-hye administration.

After the parachute party gets into full swing, a particular group of people flocks to those in power. They will include politicians who worked for Moon’s election campaign and bureaucrats who were shunned by the previous government. For instance, Kim Sung-ju, a former legislator and aide in Moon’s campaign, was appointed chief of the National Pension Service. Even with a career as a senior member of the Health and Welfare Committee of the National Assembly, many people are criticizing his lack of expertise to lead an institution with assets of 600 trillion won ($538 billion).

The trend stretches to private financial institutions. Kim In-ho, former chairman and CEO of the Korea International Trade Association, had to step down due to government pressure while a former head of the Financial Supervisory Service in the Roh Moo-hyun administration has made a surprising comeback as head of the General Insurance Association of Korea after ten years.

Needless to say, parachute appointments are a part of the so-called “past ills” the Moon administration vowed to root out. Such practices not only contribute to lax operation of those organizations but critically hurt the overall efficiency of our economy.

The government must ensure that any heads of corporations under the jurisdiction of the administration finish their terms if their ability to run their corporations was proven. The Moon administration must put an end to the resilient practice of parachute appointments once and for all.

JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 9, Page 30

한국 경제를 좀먹는 낙하산 인사 관행이 문재인 정부에서 그대로 되풀이될 것이란 우려가 커지고 있다. 비단 공공기관뿐만 아니라 정부 입김에서 자유로울 수 없는 민간협회장까지 교체 바람이 불고 있기 때문이다. 어제는 마사회 회장 교체설이 나돌았다. 취임 1년도 안 된 회장을 퇴진시키고 문재인 대통령 선거캠프 출신인 김낙순 전 국회의원이 내정됐다는 얘기가 흘러나왔다.
어디 이곳뿐이랴. 정부 산하 334개 정부 공공기관이 모두 술렁거리고 있다. 특히 전임 정권에서 임명된 기관장들은 좌불안석이다. 언제 그만두라는 압력을 받을지 모르기 때문이다. 낙하산 파티가 벌어질 조짐이 보이자 이 자리를 노리는 사람들에겐 장(場)이 섰다. 주로 대선캠프 출신의 정피아(정치인+마피아)와 박근혜 정부에서 소외됐던 관피아(관료+마피아)들이다. 그제 국민연금공단 이사장에 취임한 김성주 전 국회의원도 문 대통령 대선캠프 출신이다. 김 이사장은 국회 보건복지위원회 간사를 경험했지만 600조원 규모의 국민연금 관리자로는 전문성이 부족하다는 비판을 받고 있다.
우려스러운 점은 금융회사와 민간협회까지 낙하산의 망령이 어른거린다는 점이다. 무역협회장이 새 정부의 압력으로 물러나고, 10년 전 퇴임한 ‘OB 마피아’가 손해보험협회장으로 부활한 것도 모두 낙하산의 악습에서 비롯된 것이다. 이런 낙하산 관행은 강원랜드와 우리은행 인사청탁 사태가 보여주듯 방만경영을 방조하고 경제의 효율성을 해친다. 경영실적이 뛰어나고 능력이 검증된 인물은 잔여임기라도 보장해 줘야 할 것이다. 5년마다 전리품처럼 낙하산 파티가 벌어지는 것은 진짜 적폐다.
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