Taipei mayor unfazed by municipal employee resignations

Taipei mayor unfazed by municipal employee resignations
Mayor Ko Wen-je.
PHOTO: Reuters

TAIPEI, Taiwan - A Taipei City councilor yesterday claimed that resignations of municipal employees were at their highest level in recent years since Mayor Ko Wen-je took office last year, with Ko appearing unconcerned.

During a press conference, Kuomintang (KMT) Councilor Wang Hong-wei stated that since Ko assumed office in late December 2014, a total of 1,511 municipal employees have resigned from their posts, an almost 30-per cent increase from the year before.

Departments in which resignations were highest included the police department (376), the health department (157) and district administration centres (117).

Roughly 40 per cent of the resignations were attributed to voluntary retirement (641), which Wang claimed was the highest level in 10 years.

The city's personnel department contradicted the councilor, stating that resignations were only up slightly from last year (an increase from 1,459 in 2014 to 1,511 in 2015).

Wang called on the mayor to reflect on his leadership style and whether it was the cause behind the increased number of resignations. She added that the vast majority of retirees from municipal posts opted for early retirement.

Another 658 city employees chose to transfer to neighbouring municipalities, including 88 who chose lower-level jobs outside Taipei City.

The mayor's response was rather nonchalant, with Ko remarking that "those who should have left have gone; (the departures) peaked around nine months ago. Those who were able to, made a run for it and those who remain are pretty much adapted (to working here)."

"We will fill the job openings and advertise the positions online," Ko added.

Reversal on Mobile Police Stations

Meanwhile, Ko admitted that his pet project to create mobile police stations needed improvements, telling reporters that starting next month they would be termed "motorized police stations." He added that the original duties of the mobile stations would be returned to the mobile division of the city police department.

The mayor indicated that the mobile units were not originally conceived to replace traditional police stations, but to increase the visibility of the police.

He said that halting the mobile police station plan should not be connected with current consultations to combine or cut the number of police departments in the city in order to cut costs.

The mobile units, or police vans, were roundly criticised by city councilors in their testing phase as being an inadequate means of creating a leaner police force due to their limited functionality and inability to respond to multiple threats in a single area.

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