The Taipei City Council drew criticism yesterday after local media outlets reported that each councilor received an expensive suitcase as a “souvenir” for their service over the council’s term.
Reports said Rimowa suitcases costing about NT$15,000 (US$477) each were given to the councilors.
“Apparently every four years, the council speaker uses her special fund to give every city councilor a remembrance gift,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) said.
DPP Taipei City Councilor Ho Chih-wei (何志偉) said that he has no use for the suitcase because he does not travel, but would use it as a tool to tell unqualified officials to pack their bags and get out of town.
Local media also reported that all fax machines and LCD televisions in councilors’ offices are being replaced at an estimated expense of NT$3.5 million, citing workers who called the replacement wasteful, because most of the equipment was still in good condition.
Workers at the council building dismissed allegations of waste.
They said the suitcases were the cheapest available from the brand and were purchased only after extensive pricing negotiations. The TVs and fax machines are replaced in a six-year cycle necessitated by heavy use, they said.
Any equipment that remains in fair condition would be donated to charities, they added.
Taipei City Council Speaker Wu Pi-chu (吳碧珠), of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), could not be reached for comment.
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