End parachute appointments

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End parachute appointments

An executive member of the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Maritime Engineering (DSME), who graduated from the same college as Moon Jae-ik, brother of President Moon Jae-in, was nominated to head the struggling company which received over 7-trillion-won ($5.8 billion) bailout from the government over the past seven years. After President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s transition committee criticized the never-ending “parachute appointments” before Moon’s term in office ends next month, the Blue House refuted it. “We just need a professional manager who can recover the company from deficits,” the presidential office said. Top priority for the DSME is putting the once-vibrant company back on track. But we strongly doubt if the nominee is capable of a turnaround.

With less than 40 days left before Moon’s step-down, the government is bent on appointing people with close ties with it for major posts at public institutions. Fifteen parachute appointments have already been made so far this year. A former administrator at the Blue House was named as a standing auditor at the Korea Gas Safety Corporation (KGS) under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on March 10, a day after the ruling Democratic Party’s (DP) defeat in the presidential election. A former senior presidential secretary for civil society became the board chair of the Korea Foundation of Nuclear Safety (KFNS), and a former deputy of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) was seated as head of the Korea Airports Corporation (KAC) without any knowledge about the field.

Due to the unceasing parachute appointments, 67 percent of the heads of 349 public entities in the country have more than one year left until they leave office. Simply put, two of three heads of public corporations are to coexist with the conservative administration after it starts on May 10. As a result, Yoon can appoint only four heads of public organizations, which could cause headaches for his administration.

As an opposition leader, Moon denounced parachute appointments by the conservative governments and vowed to stop the vicious cycle. After Yoon’s election victory, Moon pledged to help the new president so as not to cause any confusion in running the government. The DP also promised to cooperate with the incoming power regardless of its election defeat. If so, why are the Blue House and DP reneging on their promise?

In a meeting Monday between Moon and Yoon, both agreed to discuss appointment issues. But the consensus is going nowhere. The outgoing administration must stop parachuting its associates into major posts at public entities.
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