Seoul to eliminate unfair support for civic groups under Park Won-soon, says Oh Se-hoon

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Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon has pledged to review the city government’s financial support system for civic groups undertaken by his predecessor, as he says the city has been wrongly spending its budget for nearly 10 years.

The mayor told a press conference on Monday that the Seoul Metropolitan Government had spent nearly 1 trillion won ($851 million) over the past decade directly and indirectly providing funds to civic groups. with a dubious history and no notable progress.

Funds supporting people from the private sector for initiatives are considered work for the city government because in cases it might be better for those in the private sector with better specialty and experience than to be done by officials.

But Oh of the conservative People’s Power Party said that was not the case under his predecessor, Park Won-soon of the Democratic Party of Korea, whom Oh accused of favoring certain civic groups by providing financial support and by unfairly awarding public official positions during his tenure. years in power.

Oh detailed that Park and his favorite civic groups have created an ecosystem for themselves, using taxpayer dollars to support themselves outside of the public eye. The mayor said civic groups have evolved into mediating agencies to connect city government and other civic groups.

Under Park’s rule, the city government handed over all budget execution work from civic groups to another civic group, which Oh says is “an act of avoiding accountability to citizens.” .

Additionally, Oh said the Park City government has assigned official positions to leaders of connected civic groups, giving them the authority to designate and allocate budget to be spent and distributed to civic groups.

Leaders of civic groups have also held positions in city government tasked with overseeing and carrying out appraisals for projects awarded to the private sector, resulting in careless appraisals and missing forms, he added.

This effectively made the Seoul city government an “cash machine exclusively for civic groups,” Oh said, directly and indirectly causing damage to taxpayers.

“Therefore, I seek to fix whatever has gone wrong by doing projects with civic groups over the past 10 years and bring it back to normal,” Oh said.

“We will eliminate all practices (in relation to civic groups) that used taxpayers’ money as their own, pursuing their own fortunes in the name of being ‘civic’.”

Oh added that her determination is not a way to undo what Park has done during her time, but a way to correct unwarranted administrative moves. He asked the city council, largely dominated by members of the Democratic Party, to cooperate in carrying out the plan.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)

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