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[Editorial] No More “Code”-Driven Personnel Management in the Government

[Editorial] No More “Code”-Driven Personnel Management in the Government

Posted December. 28, 2003 23:30,   


President Roh Moo-hyun has named Oh Myung, Ajou University president, to be science and technology minister and replaced three other ministers. The scope of the shakeup was not broad. However, the newly appointed ministers have proven records of their knowledge and experience, raising speculation that President Roh’s “code”-driven personnel management has changed. “The reshuffle is aimed at making a more capable government and improving efficiency in the government administration,” said Chung Chan-yong, the chief secretary of personnel management. He took the right direction.

The criterion for choosing a cabinet member is his or her ability. Knowledge, performance capability as well as morality are the basic qualifications. The president needs to find someone who has wisdom and tolerance to address the conflicts of interest between ministries and to control crises. Unfortunately, the president’s personnel management has not been like that to date. The sole criterion for him was driven by the computer buzzword “code.”

What’s behind the “code” is a dichotomist view that divides the world into reform and anti-reform. Of course, a government has its own philosophy and goals, and supporters of those values will be at the center of it. However, President Roh’s values were narrowly focused. When reforms were seen to be monopolized by a progressive force, reasonable conservatives gave up joining the government. The damage this has done is highlighted by the quandary the new government has been in over the past 10 months. .

With the latest shakeup of his cabinet, President Roh should wake up from the esoteric “code,” open his mind and find qualified human resources. It is believed that there should be several reshuffles in the period leading up to the National Assembly elections next year. At any rate, he should appoint more technocrats who are more capable. A reshuffle to draft a National Assembly candidate or give jobs to electoral losers as consolidation must not take place.

The competitiveness of the cabinet is the competitiveness of the president. How can a president expect good evaluations with an amateur cabinet? He should search for a wider pool of human resources with a broader personnel policy. This is the surest way for leadership for national unity.