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Former Ministers from Other Provinces Won’t Return to Their Hometowns

Former Ministers from Other Provinces Won’t Return to Their Hometowns

Posted April. 11, 2007 07:57,   


A recently published property list for high-level government officials found that most former ministers have not returned to their hometowns. After serving at their posts, former officials, especially those living in Seoul, found their way to government-run research institutes or universities located in the metropolitan area.

Former Prime Minister Yoon Deok-hong, who also served as the Minister of Education and Human Resources Development in 2003, used to be dean of Daegu University. In November 2004, he became the president of the Academy of Korean Studies, located in Bundang-gu in Gyeonggi Province. He is now living where the academy is situated.

“President Yoon is not living in his own house. The place he is staying in is owned by the institute. I heard he took a temporary leave of absence for his dean post,” said a person from the academy.

Former minister Huh Sang-man became the head of Agriculture and Forestry Ministry in 2003 after working as a professor at Sunchon University. After retiring from the post, he went back to the university and taught for 11 months. In December 2005, he came back to Seoul to become the president of the Korea Research Foundation.

“His tenure as a professor ended in December 2005. After almost finishing his term, he is now living with his family in a house owned by the Foundation. Although he is living in Seoul now, he often says that he will return to his Sunchon house in South Jeolla Province and do farm work after his term ends next December,” said the secretary office of the foundation.

Former Labor Minister Kwon Ki-hong, who used to be a Yeungnam University professor, is also living in Seoul now. He resigned from Yeungnam University and became the dean of Dankook University in May 2005.

Professor Lee Jong-oh was former chairman of the Presidential Commission on Policy Planning after serving as a division chief of the Presidential Transition Committee Participation Center. He used to teach at Keimyung University, but he moved to Seoul in September 2004 when he started to teach at Myongji University. Last April, he served as the chairman of the Study of Economy and Human Society under the Office of the Prime Minister.

Former Environment Minister Lee Jae-yong used to practice as a dentist in Daegu before he worked in a civic group. His stay in Seoul was extended after he became the president of the National Health Insurance Corporation in August 2006. “He applied for this post because he had a keen interest in this field, not because he wanted to live in Seoul. He will eventually go back to his hometown of Daegu,” said an official at the corporation.

Some former ministers still have their houses in Seoul even after being appointed to the heads of government agencies in other provinces.

Former Minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs Huh Sung-kwan was assigned to the post of president of the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology last year. He served as a Donga University professor and minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. He is residing in Gwangju, but his family is still in Seoul.

“He moved to Seoul when he became the minister. He went back to Busan once, but again moved to Seoul. I heard that his family now settled in Seoul. After his tenure ends in 2010, he will go back to his hometown, Busan,” said the Institute.

Former Environment Minister Kwak Kyul-ho became president of the Water Resources Corporation in Daejeon in September 2005. He is also living alone in Daejeon, while his family staying in Seoul. “Because all of his children go to school in Seoul, he decided to come to Daejeon alone,” said an official at the corporation.

“Former top officials from other provinces seem to be reluctant to return to their hometowns. If so, how many people will agree to the government’s argument that talented people should move to other provinces for balanced national development?” said one provincial government official.

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