Newspaper article China Post

Will Mayor Ko Usher in New Era of Effective Civil Service?

Newspaper article China Post

Will Mayor Ko Usher in New Era of Effective Civil Service?

Article excerpt

Not a week into his term in office, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je has managed to keep the nation's eyes riveted on him as his efficiency is unlike what the Taiwanese people are accustomed to. Gone are the bus-only lanes running through one of the city's busiest streets after no bus has used them in seven years, he issued an ultimatum to owners of 226 illegal rooftop additions after more fires in similar housing setups, and he fired more guidelines at civil servants in Taipei.

Any influence peddling from city councilors will earn them a place on a blacklist posted on the Internet, Ko warned. We see a mayor gearing up for the government he promised, transparent works and honest work ethics all around.

Previously toying with the idea of demolishing all police stations and replacing them with patrol cars, Ko recently announced a string of new requests to enhance the overall efficiency of his government. It began with rumors that Ko was planning to ax the 20-minute "tea time" that Taipei government employees are granted every afternoon, and followed with his decision to cut down the annual budget for overtime pay and transportation funding, and reconstruction plans for the city government building that include installing magnetic card locks as opposed to old fashioned keys, downscaling the size of mayor and deputy mayor offices and expanding the space reserved for citizens on official errands.

While the actual citizens of Taipei welcomed the modifications, the blueprints were considered bold by the standards of Taiwan and Taipei's officialdom, which was a rather drab and dead system. Ko's words invoked immediate outrage from civil servants, who had secured an iron-shod position of peace and comfort after countless exams and were looking forward to another four years of snugness, unchanged even after a new boss. But instead, Ko's no-nonsense attitude may be exactly what the city needs to keep up with what people so lovingly refer to as digitalization and globalization. When exactly will digitalization happen, in this age in which an inmate's medical parole documents transported from a Taichung Prison to Taipei - a mere 1-hour ride on the high-speed rail - are delayed because of traffic jams? …

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