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To Reorganize or Not?

Posted December. 12, 2004 22:49,   


As some personnel changes are highly expected in the current presidential staff and the cabinet at the end of this year or in the beginning of next year, all eyes are on President Roh Moo-hyun. According to sources in Cheong Wa Dae, “The president is just back home from his official visit to foreign countries, so there is practically nothing settled.” However, a reshuffling will be discussed once lawmakers pass a budget bill for 2005 during an extra session at the end of this year. For now, almost all in Cheong Wa Dae agree that Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lee Hun-jai and Kim Woo-sik, who are in charge of the entire presidential staff, and other important officials will not be replaced. On the other hand, some ruling-party politicians insist that an extensive personnel shift is necessary for a fresh and better start of Korean politics. Therefore, the prediction is not that implausible that a reshuffling will be bigger than everyone’s expectations.

In the meantime, chief presidential secretary Kim Woo-sik and personnel chief Jeong Chan-yong are at the center of attention. In fact, Kim is reportedly a candidate for replacement if a personnel change reaches farther for a new start of the country as some argue.

Kim reportedly tried to seek some discussions with his close friends on his career, saying, “I am not sure if I have to talk to the president myself to give him a wider range of choices on this matter.”

Still, the majority in Cheong Wa Dae plans not to let Kim go. A high official in Cheong Wa Dae confirmed, “I know the president does not want to dismiss his chief secretary and Kim will keep his job.”

Personnel chief Jeong, who has been charged with personnel affairs for about two years since the start of the Roh administration, has been plagued by rumors of replacement since September.

In fact, a top official informed that if the personnel head loses his job, things will get much serious around Jeolla province when people there are already disgruntled even with someone from their territory in charge of personnel affairs.

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com