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Dong-A Ilbo’s survey on presidential secretaries’ performance

Dong-A Ilbo’s survey on presidential secretaries’ performance

Posted March. 17, 2014 02:31,   


Chief Presidential Secretary Kim Ki-Choon and Chief Presidential Security Advisor Kim Jang-soo, the two main pillars of the President’s Office, are revealed to have received good reviews on their work performances. In contrast, senior secretaries for policy areas have received poor reviews overall. It can be interpreted that the leadership of the President’s Office is decent while issues in detailed areas such as poor policy coordination among departments still remain.

In celebration of the first anniversary of the incumbent administration, the Dong-A Ibo conducted a survey of 60 people including 30 external experts and 30 internal experts from Dong-A Ilbo on the performance of presidential secretaries. According to the results, Secretary Kim Jang-soo was selected as a presidential advisor who performed the best on the ground that the administration has followed its rules for inter-Korean relations while being flexible on certain issues. In the area of foreign affairs, Senior Secretary Joo Cheol-ki received relatively good reviews compared to other secretaries.

In contrast, Senior Secretary for Political Affairs Park Joon-woo received the most negative reviews among others. Many assessed that the administration has shown its limits in persuading the opposition parties and communicating with the ruling party on issues where the ruling and opposition parties strongly confront each other. Senior Secretary for Economic Affairs Cho Dong-won came second on the ground that he is partly responsible for the confusions caused by the recent real estate measures and last year’s tax revision. However, Cho had mixed reviews by coming fifth among those who received positive reviews.

Senior Secretary for Future Strategy Yoon Chang-beon and Senior Secretary for Welfare and Employment Choi Won-yeong and Senior Secretary for Education and Culture Mo Cheol-min each ranked third, fourth and fifth among those with negative reviews. The experts evaluated that Yoon did not make any remarkable progress in "Creative Economy," Choi failed to coordinate employment issues, and Mo also did not make any considerable achievement in educational issues such as the normalization of public education.

Evaluations on the presidential secretaries directly reflect evaluations on the Park Geun-hye administration. The 50-60 percent approval rating for the administration is mostly driven by its achievements in national security and foreign affairs. Thus, secretaries for those areas received high scores while the rest got lower scores. Given that the president’s achievements are backed by assistance from his advisors, the results seem natural.

The participating experts pointed out what secretaries lack the most is “courage to frankly speak to the president for her right decision,” following “communication with the National Assembly and ministries and government agencies.” Yoo Gyeong-joon, a senior researcher of the Korea Development Institute, said, “The most important ability of senior presidential secretaries is to consolidate and coordinate a task that involves several ministries and government agencies, but some senior secretaries are occupied by their interests in certain departments and do not resolve conflicts among various departments.”