NTU head given official reprimand for taking side jobs

2019/09/02 18:47:29 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔)/CNA file photo

Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔)/CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 2 (CNA) The president of the nation's top university Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) on Monday was given an official reprimand for taking side jobs during his previous post as a government official by a commission that supervises civil servants, a relatively lenient punishment given that he could have been dismissed for the violation.

Kuan, the president of National Taiwan University (NTU), was given a reprimand by the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission under the Judicial Yuan for a violation of the Public Servant Work Act that prohibits public servants from taking side jobs, which "seriously damage the image of government officials," according to the commission.

According to the commission, Kuan was found to have written editorials "regularly" and "anonymously" for the Chinese-language weekly Next Magazine from Jan. 23, 2014 to Jan. 22, 2015, while he was a high-ranking government official during the previous Kuomintang (KMT) administration.

From those editorials, Kuan earned an annual income of NT$675,000, according to the commission.

For this violation, the 63-year-old economist was impeached by the government watchdog Control Yuan in January.

The decision on his impeachment was then delivered to the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission, which decides if individuals have violated the law and what punishment to impose.

Kuan could have been fired or suspended from his post, demoted, stripped of his retirement pension, or given a reprimand, if found to have violated the law.

The commission ultimately handed out the most lenient punishment of a reprimand, which could affect his future promotion and year-end bonuses.

Asked to comment on the commission's decision, Kuan's attorney said his client does not accept the decision, stressing that they will study the ruling before deciding whether to appeal.

In a Facebook post, Kuan cited the work of a Tang Dynasty poet to proclaim his innocence and said his reputation has been besmirched by the punishment.

Kuan previously told a hearing held by the Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission last month that he did not sign a contract with the magazine in question nor receive regular pay.

He was not serving in any position at the magazine and the magazine's editorial board was free to decide whether to publish his work, Kuan noted.

He argued that writing articles as a contributor does not constitute taking a side job.

Kuan stressed that writing articles is within the realm of freedom of expression protected by the ROC Constitution and claimed his impeachment was politically motivated.

Meanwhile, the Control Yuan members who voted in favor of Kuan's impeachment on Monday said they respect the decision made by the commission and called on Kuan to do likewise.

Kuan took up a post as a minister without portfolio on Feb. 6, 2012 and was offered a concurrent position on Feb. 18, 2013 as minister of the now-defunct Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD).

When the CEPD became the National Development Council on Jan. 22, 2014, Kuan remained as its head until Feb. 3, 2015.

(By Hsiao Po-wen and Joseph Yeh)
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