Mon, Sep 26, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Taipei education commissioner resigns

By Ho Shih-chang and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taipei Department of Education commissioner Tang Chih-min is seen in this undated photo. The department yesterday confirmed Tang has tendered resignation to Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je.

Photo: CNA

Taipei Department of Education Commissioner Tang Chih-min (湯志民) has tendered his resignation to Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).

In an open letter to department staff yesterday, Tang said he had “completed the mission assigned for this phase,” and that he expects to resume teaching at National Chengchi University on Saturday.

Sources said Tang tendered his resignation on Tuesday.

Tang’s resignation coincided with Taipei Department of Legal Affairs Commissioner Yang Fang-ling’s (楊芳玲) resignation on Tuesday.

It is believed that Ko’s decision to reinstate former Taipei Municipal Zhongshan Junior High School music teacher Hsiao Hsiao-ling (蕭曉玲) — which was made public the same day — led to Yang’s and Tang’s resignations, as both were involved in the decision to fire Hsiao.

Hsiao in 2008 took the city government to court, saying she was wrongfully fired after a performance evaluation as an act of political retaliation by then-Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) administration, which she said was motivated by her opposition to the Hau administration’s “one guideline, single textbook” education policy.

Although the Supreme Administrative Court ruled in favor of the city government in 2011, the Control Yuan issued a corrective measure against the city in 2013, citing irregularities and procedural improprieties in the conduct of the review board.

On Wednesday, Ko rescinded Hsiao’s contract and re-employed her at another city school, with compensation for nine years’ worth of salary owed to the teacher.

In response to reporters’ questions yesterday, Ko said he received Tang’s resignation, but had not accepted it yet, adding that he would decide whether to accept the resignation when the city government returns to work today.

When asked whether Yang and Tang’s resignations were linked, Ko said: “Everything has two sides, and there comes a time when a choice must be made.”

Regarding Hsiao’s case, it is the responsibility of a mayor to take action when an innocent person has been wronged by the legal system, Ko said, adding that certain issues cannot be redressed by legal procedures alone.

Ko said that the goal of transitional justice is to prevent repeating mistakes, adding that while he has been criticized of “leaving a good deed incomplete,” he continues to favor the redressing of mistreated people in a way that does not contribute to a “cycle of retribution.”

“If a perpetrator must be found in this case, let me take the blame,” he said.

The replacement of political appointees are “like divorces” in that they are routine occurrences that happen due to questions of “compatibility and not of mistakes,” Ko said, adding that 24 commissioners had quit in the first four years of Hau’s administration.

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