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Government Flouts Law, Increases Number of Public Servants

Government Flouts Law, Increases Number of Public Servants

Posted July. 02, 2007 03:02,   


The government has increased the number of public servants it employs every year by arbitrarily interpreting the maximum number of public servants it can hire by presidential decree. According to Article 2 of the Decree on the Maximum Number of Civil Servants enacted in 1998, the number of government employees cannot exceed 273,982. However, although the total number of government employees was decreased by 29,756 when the Korean National Railroad was privatized in 2005, the government has not amended the article to increase the number of public servants.

“The number of government employees, which was 271,566 in 2004, was reduced to 249,027 and 255,643 in 2005 and 2006, respectively. The government has been maintaining the number of public servants within the maximum limit so far,” according to a report that the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs (MGAHA) submitted on Sunday to Rep. Lee Sang-bae of the Grand National Party.

In this regard, Lee said, “The maximum number of government employees should be reduced to 244,236 by subtracting the number of public servants that had been employed by the Korean National Railroad. Hence, the government exceeded the maximum limit for government employees by 4,801 in 2005 and 11,417 in 2006.”

Moreover, the Roh administration has also been virtually ignoring Article 3 of the decree that requires the government to draw up and implement plans for personnel reduction every three years since 2002.

Although the administration announced its “Middle-Term Human Resources Management Plan” in 2006, which included a plan to cut 6,300 government employees, it is planning to increase the overall number of government workers by 51,223 in five years.

The “Dispatched Workers System,” which was introduced to share expertise of civilian professionals, has also been abused, according to the report.

The Kim Dae-jung administration drew up a “Three Year Plan for Government Downsizing” in 1998 and 2002, and reduced the number of public servants by 22,365 and 2,583, respectively.

Among the 338 civil experts dispatched to 21 government institutes, more than 20 percent of them have simple duties such as civil application registrations, clipping news articles and assisting senior officials, according to the “Statistics on Dispatched Civil Experts” report that Lee obtained from the Central Personnel Management Commission (CPMC).

According to Paragraph 4 of Article 32 of the decree, government organizations can use dispatched civil experts of non-government bodies when they are required to carry out complex projects more efficiently or to jointly carry out major state projects. The dispatched workers are, however, paid by the organizations that dispatched them.

Among the civil experts dispatched to government institutes, 23 people handle administration duties or provide administration consultations. The Ministry of Information and Communication uses five dispatched staff from the Korea Telecommunications Operators Association for administrative paperwork and telephone consultation. The Ombudsman of Korea also uses nine non-government dispatched workers from Nonghyup, Korea Electric Power and the Korea Consumer Agency for consultation purposes.

Employees dispatched from the National Health Insurance Corporation to the Ministry of Health and Welfares are assigned the tasks of posting the ministry’s views on the government online newsletter, and employees dispatched from the National Pension System are assigned the task of posting articles on online news sites.

“Some government institutes have been exploiting the civil experts dispatch system since 2004 when each ministry was allowed to use them autonomously without gaining permission from the MGAHA,” an official of the CPMC said.

“The government has frequently abused the civil expert dispatch system to alleviate personnel or promotion congestion within ministries,” Lee added.