Thu, Aug 03, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taipei City paid for Chen maid during part of mayorship

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Presidential Office yesterday admitted that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) put a former presidential housekeeper on the Taipei City Government's payroll when he was mayor.

The Presidential Office released a statement confirming a report published in the Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday which said that former presidential residence housekeeper Lo Shih Li-yun (羅施麗雲) had been hired by the Taipei City Government's Department of Rapid Transit Systems soon after Chen was elected the city's mayor in December 1994.

Past practice

Lo was on the city's payroll for about four months, the statement said, because Chen's advisers thought they could follow the practice exercised by his predecessor, Thomas Huang (黃大洲) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

However, Chen later decided the practice was inappropriate and started paying Lo on his own.

The paper reported that Lo had been reassigned from the rapid transit department to the city's Secretariat Office.

However, she did not work at either of these two agencies because her real job was taking care of the wheelchair-bound first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), the paper said.

The report said that Lo had resigned in April 1995, adding it suspected that her resignation had something to do with a controversy caused by the questionable employment of Wu's brother, Wu Ching-mao (吳景茂), at the city's Department of Environmental Protection.

Lo continued to serve Wu until July 2004 when she resigned amid accusations that she had illegally availed herself of chauffeur services and other privileges.

The Taipei City Department of Rapid Transit Chief Tom Chang (常岐德) yesterday confirmed that the secretariat had made a request for an employee.

The rapid transit department recommended Lo and the order went into effect on Dec. 31, 1994.

According to Chang, Lo quit in April 1995, with the resignation taking effect on April 16.

Salary payments

With a monthly salary of NT$28,125, the department paid Lo a total of NT$120,000 during the four and a half months.

In response to Taipei City councilors' comments that Lo may have violated the law if she had not worked in the secretariat, Chang said that it had been decided that the city government should investigate the matter and ask Lo to return the salary payments if it was found she had never worked in the secretariat.

The incident involving Lo came to light after the president was alleged to have improperly placed a domestic helper on the Presidential Office's payroll. The helper worked at a house owned by Chen that was occupied by his daughter.

Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih

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