Making a disgraceful exitPresident Moon Jae-in accepted three of the six resignations handed in by his senior secretaries. Even the ruling Democratic Party (DP) is questioning the meaning of the reshuffle. Chief of Staff Noh Young-min and five senior staff last week offered to resign “after taking responsibility for the current situation” amid brewing public complaints over the unstable real estate market and multi-homeowners at the Blue House.
The results dashed hopes for a revamp that reflects angry public sentiments. Moon kept the replacement limited to those who owned multiple homes. Noh who himself had two homes and caused controversy by selling an apartment in Cheongju, North Chungcheong, and holding onto one expensive apartment in Banpo District , southern Seoul, retained his job as Moon’ chief of staff. Noh later disposed of the Banpo apartment.
Some suspect that the Blue House colluded to victimize Kim Jo-won — the senior presidential secretary on civil affairs who angered the public the most with his ownership of two homes in real estate hot spots of Gangnam and Songpa Districts. Noh and Kim reportedly had a public brawl, with Kim protesting the pressure to sell off his extra home. This is no time for Blue House staffers to quarrel with one another. The people are already in distress from the longest-ever heavy rain streak, the coronavirus and the unstable housing market.
Kim has apparently not been reporting to work since Monday. Such a behavior cannot be befitting to someone who has served as a senior presidential secretary, president of the Korea Aerospace Industries and secretary general to the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI).
Appointment is key to good governance. It must make sense. But the sight of aides keeping their seats despite much controversy and an outgoing public servant making a disgraceful exit cannot make sense in the eyes of the public.