Published : 2013-01-07 19:58
Updated : 2013-01-07 20:53
The presidential transition team has set sail to lay the foundations for the new government. On Sunday, the 26 members of the team held their inaugural meeting and resolved to do their best for a trouble-free launch of the new administration.
The transition committee will be operating for some 50 days until President-elect Park Geun-hye is sworn in on Feb. 25. Compared with previous teams, its launch was about 10 days late. It may have to rush to ensure that the new government hits the ground running from day one.
The team is tasked with charting a new course for the incoming government based on Park’s governance philosophy. Throughout the campaign period, Park pledged to prioritize national reconciliation, welfare expansion and better economic democracy.
The most urgent task facing the team is to come up with a blueprint for a government overhaul. The new layout needs to be drawn up within this month as the new prime minister and Cabinet ministers should be appointed before Feb. 25.
Under the Constitution, the prime minister nominee should get approval from the National Assembly. And minister nominees, appointed with the recommendation of the prime minister, should undergo parliamentary hearings. These processes could take time should the nominees fail to win endorsement from the opposition parties.
In revamping the organization of the central government, the transition team would do well to consider the revival of the Central Personnel Management Commission, which was abolished by President Lee Myung-bak.
One key to achieving national reconciliation is to make public appointments in a fair and non-discriminatory fashion, which can be best attained by an independent and professional agency.
Currently, the central government’s human resources are managed by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security. But this function needs to be separated from the ministry and transferred to an independent civil service commission.
Yoo Min-bong, a public administration professor at Sungkyunkwan University who was picked to lead the subcommittee on planning and coordination of state affairs, also advocates the reinstatement of the CPMC.
Regarding welfare expansion, the transition team will have to set priorities among a wide array of welfare pledges made by the president-elect. Many experts point out that it is practically impossible to implement all of her promises.
The team also needs to find ways to ensure a more efficient, waste-free implementation of welfare programs. Currently, a large number of agencies operate their own welfare schemes without coordination. As a result, some projects overlap.
To avoid wasting taxpayers’ money, there should be a control tower that can coordinate existing programs. The need for such an agency is all the greater as the new government is determined to introduce many new schemes going forward.
In setting policies for economic democracy, the transition team will have to take care not to impair the country’s growth potential. It should avoid promoting policies that could discourage investment by private companies.
One thing that the 26 members of the transition team should remember during their two-month-long stints is that they should conduct themselves well. They should not repeat mistakes and misdeeds committed by some members of the transition teams for presidents Lee Myung-bak and Roh Moo-hyun.
Lee’s popularity ratings fell rapidly as a result of a series of unacceptable behavior by the members of his transition team. For instance, one advisor on real estate policy was dismissed for consulting a property developer.
The transition team’s head had to apologize several times for the misdeeds of other members, including those on the special committee on national competitiveness, who went to Ganghwa Island for a lunch offered by Incheon city government officials.
Roh’s transition team drew fire by acting like an occupation force. For instance, a member of the team stomped out the room during a briefing by officials of the Ministry of Employment and Labor. He took issue with their attitude.
Another thing the transition team needs to keep in mind is that it should not attempt to bite off more than it can chew. It should limit its role to setting the directions for the new government and refrain from drafting detailed policies.