The Taipei City Council’s Finance and Construction Committee has proposed halving the annuities received by retired Taipei City Government civil servants on three national holidays, which if passed would save the city an estimated NT$67 million (US$2.02 million) every year.
The proposed cut would affect about 22,500 retired Taipei City Government employees, cutting the NT$2,000 gifts they receive on Lunar New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival and Dragon Boat Festival by half, Taipei Department of Personnel Deputy Director Chang Chien-chih (張建智) said.
Under the proposal, the city’s technicians, workers, drivers and guards would retain their monetary gifts on the three holidays in their entirety.
The city has issued the annuities to its retired staff since 1971 in compliance with guidelines covering the government’s care and protection of retired public servants, Chang said, adding that to do so costs the city about NT$187 million each year.
When asked to comment on the proposed cut, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said: “I am not leaning toward this issue. I will respect the council’s decisions.”
In other news, a census carried out by the Taipei Department of Education on the opinions of school pupils who have been selected as model students over whether they would like the mayor to hand them their awards, has come under fire from department employees, who criticized the poll as “unnecessary.”
Ko had previously sparked controversy with his dismissive remarks about award ceremonies for model students, saying he wants to cancel them as they often involve giving awards to hundreds of students at a time over several hours.
The comments were met with criticism by some parents and teachers.
The census, conducted at Ko’s request, found that 493 of 520 students said they wanted to receive their awards from Ko.
The results have prompted some department officials to criticize the census, saying that the outcome was expected and that Ko has vowed to reduce unnecessary work city government employees have to do.
Ko yesterday presided over an award ceremony at Taipei Municipal Datong High School.
In response to media queries for comments on the census results, Ko said: “I can only accept them and come here to give the awards. What else can I do?”
He said he would still seek to cancel the award ceremonies, but “it probably will not happen in the near future.”
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