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Officials Paid 367.5B Won Since 1999

Posted April. 07, 2006 07:42,   


Mr. A, a seventh grade public official, recently received an 110,820 won “morale-boost bonus” in addition to his regular salary of 2.22 million won plus benefits.

He has been a seventh grade public official for more than five years and is eligible to be promoted to a higher position. But due to a promotion backlog, he was not promoted. He received the bonus instead. There were 15,803 such cases in 2004.

This was revealed in a “treatment official report” submitted to Grand National Party lawmaker Jeong Jong-bok by the Civil Service Commission yesterday.

According to current rules, the “senior-level treatment system” is designed to select public officials who have demonstrated superior performance and treat them as senior level officials. According to lawmaker Jeong Jong-bok, however, all the public officials who failed to gain such promotions were automatically appointed as treatment officials.

Bonuses for treatment officials decreased from 6% of their basic salaries last year to 4.8%. However as the proportion of basic salary in the whole salary expanded from 44% to 54%, in absolute terms, the bonus was not reduced.

As of 2004, among ministries, the Ministry of Information and Communications had the biggest number (4,235) of treatment officials. In terms of positions, officials treated as 6th grade position accounted for the largest part with 4,135. The number of treatment officials was the largest in 2001 with 19,015 since the system was launched in 1990.

The figures of 2005 and 2006 are yet to be calculated. However, given the size of relevant budget, it is estimated to be around 15,000, similar to that of 2004. The government reflected 64.8 billion won in 2004, 57.9 billion won in 2005, and 63.8 billion won in 2006 for the treatment officials’ bonus in budget.

An official of Ministry of Budget and Planning said, “In accordance with personnel supply and demand, we can either have more budget than we need or be short of budget and get money from budget for other projects. We do not separately calculate statistics of actual bonus paid.”

Lawmaker Jung pointed out, “Although small government is a global trend, the number of public officials has increased every year under the incumbent government. The problem is that the government is spending tens of billions of won in bonus without restructuring public institutions.”

However, an official of Civil Service Commission explained, “We are running the treatment official system to financially compensate for the public officials who are enduring disadvantages due to serious backlog of promotion and significant gap in promotion pace between ministries.”

One senior-level treatment official retorted, “I don’t see a problem in receiving a petty bonus when I can’t even gain promotion I deserve.”

Yong-Gwan Jung yongari@donga.com