Tue, Nov 11, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Justice minister defends his chauffeur's promotion

CNA , TAIPEI

Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) defended his decision yesterday to promote his chauffeur to a senior-grade secretarial post in the ministry, saying he believes that the promotion will help boost the morale of low-ranking civil servants.

Chen also said he was surprised that a local newspaper gave the promotion a negative spin.

At the center of the report is Huang Tung-tsai (黃棟財), who was recruited in October 2001 as a "skilled worker" to be Chen's chauffeur.

According to the newspaper, Huang was promoted to the grade-11 post on Nov. 1 to work as Chen's confidential secretary.

Describing Huang's promotion as an "incredible fairy tale," the paper said Huang is the first chauffeur known to have been promoted to such a high post in the civil service. With the promotion, the paper said, Huang's monthly salary has jumped from about NT$40,000 to NT$100,000.

Chen said Huang was originally a middle-ranking management chief at a private company with a work force of more than 200.

"I intended to employ him to work as my confidential secretary in the first place. But at that time, the ministry didn't have a vacancy for him. So in the interim I had him serve as my chauffeur," Chen said.

After two years, Chen said he found that Huang was qualified to be a confidential secretary.

"As the ministry's only senior-grade secretarial post had been vacant since July, I decided to have Huang fill that vacancy," he said.

Chen said Huang's ranking was grade 10, not grade 11 as reported by the paper.

According to Chen, Huang will from now on assist him in handling clerical affairs and analyzing complaints and appeals filed by members of the public.

Huang, 46, said he will change the minds of his critics with his dedication to his new work.

"I'm confident that I can fulfill all of my official duties," he said.

The position of confidential secretary is linked to the term of the minister under whom he or she serves; when the minister leaves the post, the secretary must step down as well.

Huang graduated from the China College of Marine Technology and Commerce in Taipei.

He worked as a draftsman at state-owned China Shipbuilding for 12 years.

His previous jobs also include managerial work at a manufacturing company and a cram school.

The ministry's personnel department said Huang's promotion had fully complied with civil service laws and regulations.

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