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Appointment through revolving door become clandestine in governmental agencies

Appointment through revolving door become clandestine in governmental agencies

Posted May. 01, 2015 07:26,   


In January 2013 when President Park Geun-hye was still a president-elect, she asserted that “the revolving door will be completely closed in her administration as it would sap the morale of hard-working people.” After the Sewol ferry catastrophe in 2014, she showed her strong determination once again by reiterating that “Rooting out the practice of exchanging personnel through the revolving door in the administration is a first step to prevent terrible disaster from occurring.” The intention was to make a point that her administration is different from previous ones and to get rid of a deep-rooted evil of revolving door practice in political circles and governmental agencies.

It turned out, however, that the revolving door is still very much in place, overshadowing the promise of the president. Even worse, the practice has spread further down to the much lower positions. Not only full-time posts that are paid hundreds of millions of won a year such as auditors and executive directors in public agencies but also non-permanent directors with annual salary of some 30million won appeared to be appointed through the revolving door. Their past career varies from “stepped-down lawmakers” to “candidates of politicians with higher position.”

The Dong-A Ilbo conducted a survey of the entire 220 non-permanent directors in 36 “public agencies of higher attention” and found that 47 persons or 21.3 percent were related with the incumbent administration. The largest number (27) came from the political circles such as having worked for the ruling Saenuri Party or applied for political nomination. Some 11 were from the 18th presidential election camp and eight from presidential think tank such as the Institute for the Future of State and extra-governmental bodies of pro-Park Geun-hye. Two months earlier, an official of the Office of the Presidential Security was appointed to the position that is not related with the previous working career.

The practice of appointment through revolving door results in harmful effect, which would weaken the fundamentals of public agencies. Professor Kim Joo-chan of Kwangwoon University’s Administration Department noted that “As the position of non-permanent directors are used to be given to those who have contributed to win the political power, their roles have been reduced to a rubber stamp, not the ones to hold management in check. While the government stresses that “The practice of giving governmental positions in return for previous exchanges will be cut off”, some governmental officials say, “It is believed that the position of non-permanent directors is supposed to be given through the revolving door.”