Fri, Apr 10, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Fur flies over ‘fat cat’ appointments in Kaohsiung City

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Kaohsiung City Government came under fire yesterday after a Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) city councilor accused the city’s Kaohsiung Bank of hiring “fat cats.”

TSU Councilor Lan Chien-chang (藍健菖) said the bank hired former China Steel Corp chairman Lin Wen-yuan (林文淵) and former Council for Economic Planning and Development minister Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥) as independent board members in June last year.

The bank granted them a monthly salary of NT$160,000 but only required that they attend board meetings every other month, Lan said.

“As an independent board member, each of them receives about NT$2 million [US$59,000] a year,” Lan said.

Lan said the bank, which had suffered a deficit of NT$1 billion last year, should deal with “fat cats” like Lin and Ho.

DEFENSE

In response, Finance Bureau ­Director-General Lei Chung-dar (雷仲達) defended the bank’s salary for Lin and Ho, saying they were only paid NT$160,000 per month, while independent board members of other banks usually enjoyed a monthly salary of NT$400,000.

“I think you know what ‘fat cats’ means. It refers to those who receive a high salary but do nothing. But in fact, they [Lin and Ho] have done a lot,” Lei said.

He did not elaborate.

Lei also dismissed media speculation that the city government — the biggest shareholder of Kaohsiung Bank — appointed Lin and Ho as board members of the bank as a reward for their support of Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊).

Lei said the city government was hoping that Lin’s business experience would benefit the bank.

Meanwhile, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday traded barbs, accusing each other of rewarding party-affiliates with public posts.

Showing a report by the legislature’s Budget Center, DPP caucus secretary-general Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said the current KMT government might have rewarded its supporters and affiliates by giving them leadership posts at government-funded organizations.

REPORT

The report showed that a number of personnel affiliated with the KMT had been appointed as heads or managers at ­government-funded organizations.

For example, former ­Kaohsiung City Council speaker Huang Chi-chuan (黃啟川) was appointed as chairman of the Metal Industries Research and Development Center, while former ministers of economic affairs Wang Chih-kang (王志剛) and Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) were appointed as chairmen of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council and the Institute For Information Industry, respectively.

DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said the appointment of Sean Lien (連勝文) as chairman of Taipei EasyCard Corp was clearly a reward for his support of the KMT government. In response, KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said the DPP should review its own actions rather than point fingers at others.

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