Retired bureaucrats, politicians occupy half of top public agency posts

By Korea Herald
  • Published : May 20, 2014 - 21:13
  • Updated : May 20, 2014 - 21:13
Nearly half of the chiefs of institutions serving in the Park Geun-hye government are retired government officials or former lawmakers, state data showed Tuesday, a widespread and long-running practice that the president has pledged to eradicate.

According to the data compiled by the government’s public information portal, Alio, 75 of the 153 chief executives of state-run organizations, or 49 percent, were from governmental or political sectors.

Such chiefs were found throughout government agencies, including those affiliated with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the data showed.

The Financial Services Commission also had appointed some of its retired officials to corporations under its wing.

Such “parachuting,” as the practice is called, was generally condoned, but it came under scrutiny after the deadly ferry sinking last month that killed nearly 290 people, most of them high school students who were on a field trip. An investigation, still ongoing, found mandatory safety checks, maintenance and supervision that were largely skipped or ignored by chiefs in cahoots with the agencies they were supposed to monitor.

Leading posts at state-run companies are often considered a reward for officials and politicians, as the jobs entail little responsibility but guarantee high salaries.

Public companies and agencies want such figures as their chiefs, hoping they can exert influence on the government for various favors.

President Park on Monday said she will overhaul the bureaucracy to end such practices and sever the cozy relations between regulators and businesses.

State data showed some of her former aides had also taken jobs at public enterprises, including the state-run Korea Development Bank and the Korea Tourism Organization.

“We should eradicate the deep-rooted corruption and cronyism.

Otherwise, we cannot expect better public service,” said Lee Soo-young from the Citizen United for Public Enterprise Reform, a Seoul-based civic group. (Yonhap)