SEJONG, Nov. 28 (Korea Bizwire) – Directors in the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism have been ill at ease recently because of the chance that they might be promoted to the top position in a personnel realignment of high ranking officials that could happen as early as next month.
Government officials have long been putting more value on mandatory retirement than promotions. However, this trend of unwillingness to be promoted to even the highest position is directly related to the current political situation.
A new government is normally followed by a thorough change in personnel, which is currently expected to happen following the next presidential election in 15 months. If a national unity government is established due to the impeachment or resignation of President Park Geun-hye, the personnel reshuffle might come even earlier.
Given the fact that the MCST has been criticized as the centre of Choi Soon-sil’s charges, meddling in state affairs and wielding improper influence, anyone promoted to the top position is likely to have a short-lived stay.
According to an announcement on November 27 from the ministry, the position of the chief of the cultural and art policy department remains vacant after Yoo Dong-hoon, the former chief of public communications office was appointed as the second vice-minister of the MCST on November 18, and Park Young-guk took his spot as the chief of public communications office on November 23.
There is also the possibility that some top positions might remain vacant because some high ranking officials are expected to take advantage of voluntary retirement.
Within next month, around 20 directors in the MCST and its affiliated organisations are expected to be nominees for the top position, but most of them are reluctant to be promoted due to the expectation that the promotion will be a short one.
A director in his early 50s, who has two daughters, one college and one high school student, said, “I have two daughters still in school to support. I pray that I’m not promoted because it could last only for a year.”
“If a new government is launched, letters of resignation from those occupying all top-ranking positions are submitted. Resignation letters from veteran civil servants who do not step aside for their juniors, or individuals who do not get along with the government are likely be accepted,” he added.
Another official said, “Although holding the top position would be a great honour, it could last a year or the less. Who would want to take that?”
“Due to the recent economic downturn, a person in their 50s who retires as a government official is unlikely to get a new job. Although some of my older former colleagues who are retired are teaching at college, others just stay at home.”
Two years ago, six top-ranking government officials submitted their resignations right after the former MCST minister Kim Jong-deok was appointed in October 2014. Among them, three had their resignations accepted, and they left their positions.
By Joseph Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)