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[Editorial] Shuffle the Subcommittees and the Cabinet and Renew the Administrative Efforts

[Editorial] Shuffle the Subcommittees and the Cabinet and Renew the Administrative Efforts

Posted June. 16, 2005 03:04,   


It’s about time the president took action. Half the president’s term has passed, but difficulties still lie before the administrative affairs. Something is utterly wrong. The government should identify the problems and fix them. The people will lose hope with the Roh administration if it starts the second half of the term without making any productive changes.

As Minister of Justice Kim Seung-kew is being considered a candidate to head the National Intelligence Service, a possibility of a partial Cabinet and Cheong Wa Dae personnel reform has surfaced. The reform may not be initiated this month, but some changes in the governmental personnel are bound to take place next month because the president shuffles the ministerial and vice ministerial personnel every January and July. That would be an opportunity to renew the government’s efforts to steer the general administrative affairs.

One of the most urgent issues waiting to be addressed is an overhaul of the presidential subcommittees. The “Haengdam Island Project” opened bare the systemic problems of the subcommittees, prompting claims that “subcommittee-based governance is unconstitutional.” The authority given to subcommittees and their heads is larger than that of ministries, swaying the way administrative affairs are run, the claims go. Therefore such oversteps fundamentally shake the very roots of the constitutionalism.

Attorney Lee Suk-yeon said, “If the unconstitutional subcommittees-based governance were to continue, lawsuits may be filed on behalf of the people or taxpayers. Cases may also be filed with the Constitutional Court, asking the constitutionality of such governance.” All subcommittees that are not entirely necessary should be abolished or downsized. Governance should be steered around ministries.

It is not right for the president to rely heavily on subcommittees while keeping a distance with ministers who are in charge of issues that are most directly related to the lives of the people. Likewise, it is undesirable for the president to have frequent meetings with chairmen of subcommittees while rarely meeting individually with ministers.

Changes need to be made with a focus on ministers, but any more mistakes in shuffling the Cabinet will be intolerable. Most of the administrative errors were caused by mistakes in personnel shuffling. The citizens are paying the price for the administrative errors resulting from personnel shuffling errors. Ministerial jobs cannot and should be taken by a random person. Able and experienced experts should take the jobs. I urge the president to make the decision needed to renew the administrative efforts.