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[2014] Mayor’s Speech

  • Uprooting Unfair ‘Gap-Eul Relationships’ in Public Service

  • [2014] Mayor’s Speech SMG 1839

    Date August 26, 2014 | Venue Briefing Room at Seoul City Hall
    Press Conference: The Announcement of the ‘Innovative Countermeasure against Gap-Eul Relations’

    I have promised to bring an age of peace, with a generous and practical administration to Seoul citizens. Some people think of administrative innovation as internal innovation, for example the improvement of efficiency. I strongly believe that innovation is much more, and that innovation allows citizens to feel comfortable with the city government.

    We have arranged this press conference to announce Seoul’s innovative countermeasure against ‘Gap-Eul relationships,’ which refer to unequal relationships, such as supervisor-subordinate relationships in business, as the second administrative initiative of Seoul. This will be followed by the announcement on August 6 of the initiative of public service innovation to eradicate corruption and wrongdoing in the Seoul government.

    Following incidents wherein large companies, including Namyang Dairy Products, unfairly wielded their power over contractors, the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) has made efforts to eradicate the unfair business practices with the Euljiro Committee, Korea Commission for Corporate Partnership (KCCP), the National Assembly and the government, and private companies. Seoul has also decided to make contributions in rooting out unfair practices existing in the public service.

    Without legitimate reason, some officials harass civil petitioners by delaying the process of licensing and permitting of civil affairs, or transferring their work to other divisions. In addition, some officials still demand citizens personally appear for affairs that can be dealt with through the Internet or by telephone. Moreover, officials too often loudly and rudely use abusive language towards citizens. Likewise, other unfair and unethical practices remain in the public service.

    We have to therefore restore social common sense to our public service, and fix these abnormal situations. Without breaking up those unfair and unequal relationships, we will not able to create a people-focused Seoul where everyone lives together, where there is no separation between the strong and the weak.

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    Of course, some people say that we have already made efforts to improve the unequal relationships, and the situation is much better than before. When people are granted power, however, they tend to exercise that power recklessly. If we do not consistently alert them to their abuse of authority, it is dangerously easy even for good people to develop bad habits.

    The authority given to public officials is not for reckless use; it is for the benefit of citizens. It is given to them in order to serve the citizens. Accordingly, we have issued the Code of Conduct for Public Officials, and taken measures to rectify unequal relationships and improve communication between the powerful and the weak. We have also prepared an innovative countermeasure against unfair practices.

    Taking this action plan as an opportunity for a new start, Seoul will eradicate all corruption and wrongdoing completely, even those practices and relationships that have until now been overlooked in the name of practice and tradition.

    We promise that the countermeasure announced today will be enacted immediately, and citizens will experience the benefits of the change as soon as possible. The Committee of Unequal Relationship Innovation in Seoul will continue to pursue the initiative for public service innovation by establishing practical and innovative measures for human resources, organizational innovation, public enterprises, and affiliated organizations. I hope you will continue to support and participate in Seoul’s administrative innovation. Thank you.