Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) mayoral candidates yesterday said that Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) plan to create 50,000 part-time posts to help retired civil servants whose pensions have been cut was “bribery through policy.”
Former KMT legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) said that the policy appeared to be a random idea and was only meant to win support by deceiving voters.
As the city government only allocated about NT$100 million (US$3.25 million) for the project, he asked whether each employee would be paid about NT$2,000.
DPP Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) said the project could constitute bribery through policy, adding that Ko should publicize the details of the project, rather than deceive retirees to win electoral support.
“If I were to offer 50,000 jobs, I would not give priority to those bastards who protested against pension reform and disrupted the Taipei Summer Universiade opening ceremony,” Yao said, adding that giving priority to retired civil servants would contravene the Constitution.
The criticism followed a comment on Monday by Taipei Department of Civil Servant Development Director Chu Chao-hsiang (曲兆祥), who said that after the pension reforms took effect on July 1, Ko told him and Taipei Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-chi (鄧家基) to come up with ideas to help improve the living conditions of the retirees.
They proposed an “enhanced care for retired personnel” project that would create about 50,000 part-time jobs in the city government, with priority given to retired civil servants, Chu said.
However, Taipei City Government spokesman Liu Yi-ting (劉奕霆) on Monday evening said that the city government had about 57,000 part-time jobs that would be open to everyone, but it would hold six discussion panels to collect suggestions before it posts the job offers.
Taipei Department of Labor Commissioner Lai Hsiang-lin (賴香伶) also said that giving priority to retirees might contravene the Employment Service Act (就業服務法) regulations against employment discrimination.
The Taipei Department of Personnel in a news release on Monday evening said that the jobs would include counseling, reviewing, auditing, after-school tutoring and substitute teaching, and funding would come from an allocated budget, and it encouraged anyone with relevant experience to apply.
Ko yesterday said that the job project was not a election ploy, but was aimed at showing compassion to retired city personnel.
If every policy he presented before the Nov. 24 elections was considered a bid to win votes, then “the whole city government should just sit and meditate all day,” he joked.
Retired civil servants would not be given priority when applying for the jobs, since that would be against the law, but their experience would probably give them an advantage, the mayor said.
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