The Executive Yuan’s reorganization scheme is not reducing budget expenses, but increasing them and is only wasting taxpayers’ money, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said yesterday.
DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said the Executive Yuan had the largest personnel expenses of the five branches of government, highlighting its public relations office as an example.
The Executive Yuan’s office has 73 positions, although only 66 are filled, compared with the 40 staffers who work for the Presidential Office’s public affairs office, the Judicial Yuan’s eight, the Control Yuan’s four and the Examination Yuan’s six, Tsai said.
It was “illogical and ridiculous” that the Executive Yuan is willing to spend NT$60 million (US$2 million) a year on public relations — even though it outsources most of the work to private firms — to “defend President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration’s policies” when other departments, such as the Food and Drug Administration has just 16 official inspectors and the Consumer Protection Committee has 37 staffers, Tsai said.
We do not need so many people to flap their lips, but do nothing, Tsai said, adding that it is precisely because the Ma administration has nothing to show for its policies that it needs so many people to cover up its inadequacies.
DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said that after the Executive Yuan completes its reorganization, it would have 100 additional staff members and 40 more high ranking officials instead of decreasing its personnel numbers.
The reorganization simply gave the Executive Yuan an excuse to hand out government jobs to people who do nothing, Lee said.
DPP caucus secretary-general Wu Ping-rui (吳秉叡) said he did not see why Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文) needed a 66-person staff.
Most of the activities overseen by the former Governmental Information Office (GIO) had been handed over to the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Communications Commission, Wu said.
Before the government’s reorganization, the Executive Yuan spokesperson usually doubled as the head of the GIO, which had long been considered a way for the government to retain a hold over the media.
After the GIO was disbanded, the office was renamed the Executive Yuan’s spokesperson office.
Wu called on the Ma administration to review its government reorganization plans, adding that streamlining should not make organizations more complicated or add personnel to already bloated organizations.
Cheng later responded to the DPP complaints by saying the functions of the spokesperson’s office were not the same as public relations.
It managed the distribution of news articles, the collection of media responses and photographs, compiled the Republic of China’s (ROC) yearbook in Mandarin Chinese and English, and maintained the Executive Yuan’s official Web site and Facebook page, Cheng said.
She said that since she took over the office in October last year, it had made significant adjustments to its staff allocation, and that it even though it had vacant positions, it was not accepting job applications.