Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Saturday said he would leave the appointment of a new Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co president to the company’s recently reshuffled board of directors.
Ko made the remark in response to media queries about who would lead the company while he was visiting a clam farm in Hualien County’s Shoufeng Township (壽豐).
The company oversees the auction of fresh produce in Taipei.
The Council of Agriculture and Taipei City Government have five and six representatives respectively on the company’s 23-member board of directors.
“The Council of Agriculture appointed five new directors, which was a substantial change. Since the board of directors has been reshuffled, it should elect a new president,” Ko said.
“The company should not allow problems with its staffing to spill over to affect vegetable prices,” Ko said when asked to comment on Taipei city councilors’ concerns that the company was only interested in infighting and had failed to regulate vegetable prices.
In response to criticism by Deputy Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲), who said the company had allowed importers of frozen vegetables to hoard stock, thereby forcing vegetable prices up, Taipei Department of Economic Development Commissioner Lin Chung-chieh (林崇傑) said that recent vegetable price hikes were nationwide, but the department would still ask prosecutors to investigate the issue.
The Chinese-language United Daily News on Friday reported that the council in August reached a deal with Ko’s administration to nominate new board members, thereby removing old members affiliated with former Yunlin commissioner Chang Jung-wei (張榮味) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) who have remained on the board after the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government took office in May.
Ko agreed to the proposal, the report said, adding, however, that not only did he renege on that promise allowing KMT-affiliated board members to continue serving, but on Sept. 27 he removed the company’s former president, Hsu Chang-jen (許長仁), a board member appointed by the Taipei City Government.
Ko’s move effectively reduced the city’s representation on the board and put the council and the city at a disadvantage when vote-lobbying begins for the upcoming election for the company’s new president, thereby allowing Chang to retain his control over the company, the report said.
In a Facebook post, DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) raised questions over Ko’s decision to sack Hsu, saying Ko could be working in collusion with the Chang faction.
Ko’s move has given the Chang faction an opportunity to nominate an acting president and formulate election rules that work in its favor, he said.
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