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Presidential Office denies report of illegal staff hiring

Statement says 20 advisers met guidelines for non-civil servants

Presidential Office denies report of illegal staff hiring

The Presidential Office dismissed a report yesterday accusing it of hiring 20 people illegally since President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) came into power in 2000.
"The Presidential Office regrets that the newspaper came up with the report even though the office had clarified reporters' questions on Sunday to clear up the allegation," a press release issued by the office stated.
The statement was in response to a report by the Apple Daily disclosing that since Chen took office in May 2000, the office has hired 20 people who are not civil servants. The paper claimed the hirings were illegal, citing a rule on staff recruitment stipulating that the presidential office must not hire non-civil servants unless they were professionals with specialized skills who could not be replaced by any civil servants employed by the office.
The presidential office's statement suggested, however, that the individuals in fact fit the category of "specialized personnel," as they were hired to perform special tasks as part of administration initiatives, such as further constitutional reforms pledged by the president and reinforcement of human rights protections advocated by Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).
The report indicated that 12 of the 20 staff members in question were hired as advisers to the president, the vice president, Presidential Secretary-General Mark Chen (陳唐山) and two deputy secretary-generals, Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) and Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳).
The Presidential Office employed another six people illegally, the Apple Daily claimed, as consultants on efforts to promote constitutional reforms and build a human rights memorial hall. Except for a senior aide of former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) listed on the presidential office's payroll without remuneration, the report claimed that these hired hands were paid at least NT$80,000 per month, amounting to NT$15 million every year to be covered by taxpayers.
The office clarified, however, that these employees' salaries were paid based on their educational background and function and ranged from NT$40,000 to NT$90,000.
The statement also denied that these individuals infringed on the rights of presidential office staff, as claimed by the newspaper, because they were employed on a contract basis, meaning their contract is renewed every year. These people have never influenced or hampered the transfer and promotion of civil servants in the presidential office, the statement said.
Chang Hung-jen (張鴻仁), one of those employees cited by the Apple Daily who works on a contract basis as a consultant to Vice President Lu, was low-key in response to the media report.
"I've just wanted to work all-out for the country since getting the job," he said.
Chang, a graduate of Harvard Law School and legal practitioner in California in the United States before being invited by the vice president to work for her office, earns approximately NT$50,000 per month now. He made between NT$300,000 and NT$400,000 every month as a lawyer in the U.S., according to local cable station Formosa TV.


Updated : 2021-10-18 16:50 GMT+08:00