Tue, Aug 08, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Contractors legal: presidential office

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Presidential Office yesterday dismissed an allegation that it had hired 20 staffers with improper credentials to do presidential work.

"We regret seeing the newspaper make such an allegation, which is far from the truth," the Presidential Office said in a statement released yesterday afternoon.

The statement was made in response to a report published in yesterday's edition of the Chinese-language Apple Daily, with the headline "Presidential Office illegally hires 20 `black' officials." In this context, "black" was used to denote the illicit or suspicious nature of the hirings.

The report quoted anonymous sources at the Presidential Office as saying that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had hired 20 staffers who do not meet the employment requirements for the civil service because Chen did not trust career civil servants at the Presidential Office.

With monthly salaries exceeding NT$80,000 (US$2,500), the report said that the Presidential Office paid them at public expense, with a total payroll amounting to NT$15 million a year.

The report also criticized Deputy Secretary-General of the Presidential Office Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰), who told the Apple Daily that the administration was simply following the practice established by the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration.

The Presidential Office yesterday said that the staffers were employed in accordance with the law and that their contracts are renewed on an annual basis.

The Presidential Office has stopped hiring contract staffers since May when its non-institutional bodies were disbanded, the statement said.

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