Sat, Nov 15, 2014 - Page 2 News List

2014 ELECTIONS: Ko unveils panel to pick city environmental chief

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je, right, with Nana of the band Nasyy, smiles during a singing session promoting his campaign yesterday.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday introduced a group of people who will choose the head of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection if he is elected, as he welcomed recommendations and applications for the job.

Top city officials are usually handpicked by the mayor, but to put his idea of “open government” into practice, Ko announced earlier that he would ask a panel composed of environmental experts and activists to choose the most suitable person to lead the department.

The panel includes Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU) founder Shih Hsin-min (施信民), TEPU vice chairman Liu Chih-chien (劉志堅), former New Taipei City Environmental Protection Bureau director Teng Chia-chi (鄧家基), attorney Thomas Chan (詹順貴), National Taiwan University professor Wu Kun-yu (吳焜裕), Homemakers’ Union founding chairwoman Chen Hsiu-hui (陳秀惠), board member Chen Man-li (陳曼麗), as well as a former Taipei environmental department director and vice director who wished to remain anonymous because they both are affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

“The panel that will choose the environmental department head is only the first; other panels are on the way,” Ko told a news conference at his campaign headquarters. “Setting up these panels and publicly calling for recommendations and applications for the jobs are to prevent accusations of the mayor selecting officials from his circle of friends.”

After the panel has chosen the candidates, Ko said he would ask 400,000 Taipei residents to vote online to select the best officials. He did not elaborate on how he decided on how the vote would proceed.

Ko said that since most public servants only act according to their supervisors’ instructions, he would only hold top officials responsible for administrative errors, instead of asking lower-ranking civil employees to shoulder the responsibility.

“There will be no more Yu Wen (余文) when I am elected mayor,” Ko added, referring to a secretary when President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was the mayor of Taipei.

Yu was imprisoned when Ma was accused of embezzling public funds, as Ma said he had authorized Yu to handle all money affairs.

Commenting on Ko’s idea on appointing city officials, the Democratic Progressive Party said in a statement yesterday that it fully respects Ko and would not intervene in his choice of officials.

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