Public-sector staffing costs in Taoyuan County and all special municipalities except Taipei have skyrocketed by NT$9 billion (US$302.7 million), and have become a serious drain on the national coffers, a report from the Ministry of Civil Service said.
The ministry’s report, submitted to the Examination Yuan on Friday, said expenditure on personnel in New Taipei City (新北市), Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan, Greater Kaohsiung and Taoyuan County — which is set to be upgraded to a special municipality next year — had all increased in comparison with figures from 2010.
The report, titled: Changes to local organizations before and after elevation to special municipality status, said Greater Taichung has seen the greatest rise in staffing costs, with an increase of NT$3.7 billion.
Taoyuan County was second with NT$2.1 billion.
New Taipei City’s personnel expenditure increased by NT$2 billion, Greater Tainan’s by NT$1.2 billion and Greater Kaohsiung’s by NT$900 million, it added.
Comparing this year with 2010, the ministry said that New Taipei City had added 1,253 staff members, 196 police and firefighters, and 314 part-time workers to the payroll while removing 458 elected local representatives.
Greater Taichung employed an additional 551 staff members and 36 part-time workers, but dismissed 229 police and firefighters, and 322 elected local representatives, the ministry said.
The report added that Greater Tainan had employed an additional 284 staff members, 56 police and firefighters, and 77 part-time workers, while dismissing 374 elected local representatives.
Taoyuan County added 972 staff members, added 56 members to its police and fire departments, and hired 77 part-time workers while dismissing one people’s representative, the ministry’s report said.
Despite the addition of 194 police officers and firefighters, Greater Kaohisung, in comparison to 2010, had seen no increases to overall personnel numbers as it had dismissed 318 staff members, 355 people’s representatives and 377 part-time workers.
The ministry said that while each special municipality is allowed to add a maximum of 12,000 new staff to their payrolls, the ministry’s restrictions — in place for the first three years after the municipalities were set up — have ensured that the special municipalities only added 3,174 full-time personnel by the end of last month, with another 1,692 in expectation of employment.
Dismissing county commissioners, township mayors and township representatives meant a decrease of 1,510 elected local representatives across the board, the ministry said.
The ministry said changes to the way that organizations are administered, such as nurseries that were under local government jurisdiction in 2010, but have since been moved under the jurisdiction of local education development foundations, were another cause of increased personnel numbers.
Citing the example of nurseries, the ministry said there were only 1,311 nursery staff allotted in 2010, but after the creation of the municipalities more than 4,400 employees had been hired.
The ministry added that the rising personnel expenditures were due to an increase in employee numbers and a number of promotions.
In response to the report, Greater Taichung Deputy Mayor Huang Kuo-jung (王國榮) said the reason for the sharp increase in employee numbers was that it only started acquiring all the personnel it needed after its elevation to special municipality status.
By contrast, Taipei City and Kaohsiung had already been special municipalities prior to 2010, and New Taipei City had been deemed a special municipality in all but name prior to its official elevation in status, Huang added.
The nation has five special municipalities: New Taipei City (formerly Taipei county); Greater Taichung (the merged Taichung county and city); Greater Tainan (Tainan county and city); Greater Kaohsiung (Kaohsiung county and city); and Taipei City.