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Development Overview

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Overview of Korea’s development experience

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Development Overview
Government and Law Public Administration

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Public Administration

Public personnel administration 2

Third and Fourth Republics
 
The Park Chunghee administration that came to power through the coup d’état of May 16, 1961, asserted national reconstruction and economic development as foremost goals of governance, and launched far-reaching bureaucratic reforms. Accordingly, the new administration repealed the existing GEA, and replaced it with a whole new GEA (Law 1325) on April 17, 1963.

Lawmakers explained the reason for repealing the earlier GEA and establishing a whole new one in its place as follows.
 
The earlier GEA did not conform to the general ethos of modern democracy, as it still retained the pre-modern elements of feudal laws. The personnel organization was too weak to guarantee the political neutrality of government employees, incapable of realizing the merit system in either recruitment or promotion, and also lacked tolerance for active, efficiency-enhancing personnel policies. A whole new legislation is needed to institutionalize the civil service system, and through that institutionalization boost the merit system and enhance the efficiency of public administration. (http://glaw.scourt.go.kr)
 
In sum, the new GEA was enacted to realize a merit-based civil service system that could significantly enhance the efficiency of administration.

The most noteworthy aspect of the new GEA was the Central Personnel Management Agency, newly created under Chapter 2, which included personnel and appeals committees. Chapter 3 defined the details of the position classification system, while Chapter 4 outlined the terms and conditions of civil service examinations and hiring, including the preference to be given to veterans receiving military welfare benefits. Chapter 6, on efficiency, defined the terms and conditions of the education and training of government employees, as well as their performance and career evaluations. Chapter 7, on service, forbade government employees from engaging in political movements (Article 65) and assemblies (Article 66), as part of their duty to maintain political neutrality. In effect, however, such articles were meant to deter them from participating in labor movements.

Civil service became a profession as the efficiency of administration was promoted as the foremost value. The era of the Ministry of Government Administration (MGA) had dawned, as it became the central personnel management agency stipulated by law. In the end, however, these changes ushered in by the GEA only served to reveal the disparity between the institutional ideal and the reality, with the position classification system eventually being abolished.

In October 1972, the Park administration amended the Constitution, officially adopting an indirect presidential election system, so that it could extend its hold on power. The GEA was also partially amended (Law 2460) on February 5, 1973, to support the new presidential system. The Park administration justified the amendment of the GEA as below.
 
It is necessary to enact legal grounds for introducing a single-class salary system in order to guarantee long-term service and boost the morale of government employees who will play a central role in the New Village Project campaign. Moreover, the newly amended GEA will allow the bureaucracy to hire graduates of local secondary and vocational learning institutions in regions outside Seoul so that increasingly more government employees are able to work near or in their hometowns. The contract-based worker system introduced in the new GEA will enable government organizations to hire talented scientists and engineers in Korea and abroad for research projects. The amended GEA, finally, seeks to reform the entire system of recruiting, testing, and rewarding government employees so that the Korean bureaucracy can adapt more flexibly to the changing conditions of society at large. (http://glaw.scourt.go.kr)
 
The amended GEA, in other words, provided a special recruitment system so that government organizations could hire experts, professionals, and other contract-based workers for temporary terms. It marked a significant step toward greater openness of the bureaucracy.

Source: Korea Institute of Public Administration. 2008. Korean Public Administration, 1948-2008, Edited by Korea Institute of Public Administration. Pajubookcity: Bobmunsa.