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Why was Ahn let go?

June 03,2017
The cancellation of the recruitment of former bureaucrat Ahn Hyun-ho, who had served as a vice minister for the intelligence ministry and trade ministry, as a senior secretary responsible for creating jobs, has generated a lot of talk. Lee Young-sup, the vice chairman of a presidential committee devoted to job creation, confirmed the appointment was reversed, but declined to say if the cause was due to protests from the labor sector.

Union groups protested strongly upon learning of his appointment, claiming he would advocate more for the employers, as he had been a career bureaucrat in the industry sector and served as the vice chairman of the Korea International Trade Association. The ruling party also disapproved of him, as he had served as a senior official under the conservative Lee Myung-bak government.

The Blue House initially said Ahn had been recruited because he was knowledgeable in the field of industry and trade and therefore suitable for refereeing among the labor, employers and government. Jobs can be created through agreement in the supply (employer) and demand (worker) ends. Ahn’s book on tripartite economic relations among Korea, China and Japan received positive reviews for laying out solutions for Korea, Inc. amid fierce competition with Chinese and Japanese counterparts.

The secretary on job creation is a new post under President Moon Jae-in, who has made job creation a top economic priority. Someone with faults should not be seated in the presidential office, regardless of capabilities. The administration’s recruitment process might be flawed if it had to dismiss someone who has already been working for several days. If so, the poor screening system should be criticized and corrected.

It is a bigger problem if the administration sacked him because of union protest or because the party did not approve of someone from a conservative government. The move goes against the president’s pledge to engage in the unbiased recruitment of talent.

JoongAng Ilbo, June 2, Page 34