More needs to be done to protect city officials from outside interference while they are enforcing the law, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday, following the resignation of Taipei Construction Management Office Director Kao Wen-ting (高文婷).
“We make civil servants bear too much responsibility and pressure,” Ko said, adding that talking with Kao about her resignation had made him ponder how to guarantee that civil servants “feel at ease” enforcing the law.
“It is not right for us to not give civil servants adequate protection [to enforce the law], but then turn around and criticize them as soon as anything goes wrong,” he said.
Ko added that civil servants are “put in a bind” when they are required to take responsibility for enforcing city policy without being backed up by their superiors.
Ko said that there was no conflict between backing up civil servants and requiring speed and efficiency.
Even if civil servants grumble, they are not afraid of hard work, he said, adding that “having no sense of direction is a bigger source of pressure.”
The office confirmed that Kao had reported to the Ministry of the Interior’s Construction and Planning Agency for work for the first time yesterday, adding that the transfer had officially taken effect on April 1.
Her move constitutes the Ko administration’s second high-profile resignation, following former Department of Sports commissioner Yang Jong-her’s (楊忠和) resignation after less than a month in office.
Kao was appointed office director in October last year. She could not be reached for comment.
Her resignation comes at a difficult time for Ko, following an indirect public rebuke of Kao at a meeting with borough wardens earlier this month.
Ko announced a “zero tolerance” policy toward illegal construction after Kao said the office could not keep pace with new cases of illegal construction.
Office officials said that interference by city councilors has been one of the greatest factors hindering enforcement of construction rules.
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