Fri, May 26, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Presidential Office may overhaul advisory system

PROPOSED CHANGES A senior official said the president may suspend the hiring of paid advisers in the face of the legislature's freezing of its budget

CNA , TAIPEI

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) deputy chief of staff said yesterday that the president is considering a major overhaul of the Presidential Office's advisory system and hopes the proposed reform will gain public support.

Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) made the remarks in response to legislators' queries at a Legislative Yuan committee meeting -- including Joanna Lei (雷倩), Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) and Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and Kuo Jung-chung (郭榮宗) and Chuang Shuo-han (莊碩漢) of the Democratic Progressive Party -- about proposed amendments to an act governing the organization of the president's office.

Hsieh expressed dissatisfaction over the Presidential Office's reported plan to suspend the employment of paid advisers, including senior advisers and national policy advisers.

Cho said the measure was being considered in response to the legislature's resolution to freeze part of the Presidential Office's budget.

According to Article 15 of the Office of the President Organization Act (總統府組織法), Cho said the office can hire unpaid advisers before the budget is released and hire paid advisers after the budget is passed.

Some lawmakers strongly urged the Presidential Office to comprehensively review the advisory system and change some of the salaried positions to unpaid ones.

"President Chen is considering taking a major step toward reforming the advisory system and hopes to get the public's full support, " Cho said, noting the president will also review advisers' qualifications to ensure they meet society's rigorous expectations.

Cho also said he will suggest that the president put forth a nomination for state public prosecutor general as soon as possible.

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