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Gov`t Downsizing Plan Targets Grade 1 Officials

Posted November. 21, 2008 18:37,   


To revamp the bureaucracy, the government has started a campaign to weed out high-ranking officials of Grade 1.

Multiple sources from the Public Administration and Security Ministry said yesterday that the administration is considering removing a clause from the National Public Service Law guaranteeing job security for Grade 1 officials to make them resign en masse. Once the plan is finalized, the plan is expected to have a huge impact on the political circle and top bureaucrats.

The Lee administration is planning to force out some 280 Grade 1 officials under its reform drive for the public sector.

Grade 1 officials consist of vice ministers, heads of state departments, deputy majors and deputy governors. The senior civil service system introduced in July 2006 guarantees their positions until retirement at age 60, so they cannot be forced to resign under the existing system.

Such officials can be let go only after going without duties for more than a year, implication in a crime, or receiving the lowest grade for work performance for more than two years.

“Before the senior civil service system was introduced, the positions of Grade 1 officials were not guaranteed and they used to resign when a new administration took office," one ministry official said. “We are planning to amend the law because there is no legal ground to make them resign under the current system."

Officials at the presidential office and the ruling Grand National Party said the government’s reform drive is losing momentum because public servants out of sync with the Lee administration are doing nothing but collecting their paychecks.

The weeding out of Grade 1 civil servants is seen as the government’s stepping up of its public sector reform. Pundits said the reshuffle of ministers and such officials shows the administration’s determination to change the political landscape.

The move, however, is expected to prompt disputes from high-ranking officials and opposition parties.