Although an administrative reform project initiated by the Executive Yuan originally aimed to shrink the size of its staff, the number of people it employs actually increased, with newly created service centers across the country increasing budgets, a report by the Legislative Yuan’s Budget Center said.
According to the Executive Yuan’s organization adjustment plan, the Consumer Protection Commission would be merged into the new Department of Consumer Protection and part of the Ministry of the Interior’s functions would be merged into the Department of Gender Equality, while the Government Information Office has already been disbanded and an Office of the Spokesperson was created to function as the media contact for the Cabinet. In addition, the Aviation Safety Council would be moved out of the Executive Yuan to become an independent agency.
However, the report by Budget Center found that while the Executive Yuan had 495 employees last year, the number grew by 257 after the administrative readjustment.
The report also found that the Executive Yuan’s creation of new service centers, including the Southern Taiwan Joint Service Center created in Greater Kaohsiung in 2008, the Central Taiwan Joint Service Center that opened in Greater Taichung in 2003, the Eastern Taiwan Joint Service Center that was established in Hualien County in 2007 and the newly created Joint Service Center for Yunlin, Chiayi and Tainan Areas all contravene the guidelines for the administrative reform.
Local issues should be left to local governments, the report said, adding that as the government launches more electronic services, which enable the public to file applications via the Internet, increasing the number of service centers constitutes a waste of administrative resources.
The Budget Center also questioned the necessity of a NT$4.7 million (US$163,000) increase in “joint service” budget and the Executive Yuan’s application to set up a Joint Service Center for Yunlin, Chiayi and Tainan Areas with the second reserve fund.
In response, Executive Yuan Deputy Secretary-General Huang Min-kung (黃敏恭) said the size of the Executive Yuan’s staff and budget in actuality did not increase and that it may be due to different definitions and different methods of calculation that the Budget Center came to its conclusion.
As for local service centers across the country, Huang said: “They are very poor” and thus the budget and the organization should not have created any problem.
He did not elaborate further.