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Print Edition> Forum
UPDATED: September 29, 2010 NO. 40 OCTOBER 7, 2010
Should Bad Civil Servants Be Chosen by Voting?

Civil servants should work for the people. If they are not competent enough or don't work hard, they shouldn't only be voted on as the worst-performing but should also be fired. What is badly needed is a system that can facilitate this happening, which would help provide a continual supply of fresh blood for the contingent of civil servants.

Work performance critical

Chen Yijun (www.cnhubei.com): At first sight, voting on the worst-performing civil servants seems impractical. For instance, people may say, although some civil servants are mediocre, there will be little possibility of their being chosen since they are good at being "nice." Others, although they perform excellently in the workplace, may be chosen since they are not good at handling interpersonal relationships. I don't think this evidently unfair scenario should take place.

Certain types of civil servants are more likely to be chosen: discipline violators, frequent absentees, game players during work time, those who treat the public impolitely and who are frequently complained about and those who are criticized by higher-level departments for dereliction of duties. From this point of view, as long as they are incorruptible and self-disciplined, abide by laws, and offer good service to the people, most government workers' chances of being chosen as the worst-performing civil servants are small. Even if it is inevitable they are chosen as "the worst among the good," their performance won't be that bad.

The title of "worst-performing civil servant" is a stimulus for recipients to improve. Such a vote would encourage civil servants to compete with each other in terms of work performance.

After all, this appraisal brings about pressure, which would remind civil servants of fulfilling their duties, serving people wholeheartedly and keeping themselves away from bad administrative operations. Those who are voted the worst-performing civil servants would face greater supervision from the masses. Without a doubt, attitudes toward the public, what has been done for the public and comments from the public are the most vital evaluation criteria in voting on the worst-performing civil servants. It will make supervision by the public more powerful and the effect of public criticism and supervision of the government more effective.

Wu Jie (www.people.com.cn): If there is a contest, there should be a winner as well as a loser. There is no reason for not having "the worst" if "the best" exist. The key of effective personnel management lies in the combination of rewards and punishments. Generous rewarding of the best performers will encourage civil servants to a great extent. But if there aren't corresponding punishments for the worst performers, most civil servants will be lazy and mediocre. Therefore, if enterprises can routinely implement a system of getting rid of the worst workers, it's also necessary to name and shame the worst-performing civil servants to avoid the appraisal of civil servants ending up in only showing their achievements.

But there is always much dispute about whose performance is better and whose is worse, especially when candidates are in different departments and do different kinds of work. Due to the difficulties and lack of objective standards, the feasibility of voting on the worst-performing civil servants is very likely to be questioned.

But rewards alone have proven insufficient to prevent civil servants from becoming sluggish. Therefore, voting on the worst-performing civil servants is worth a try although standards and operational procedures are not complete yet. Only if the public is included while formulating standards and entitled to vote will the voting realize its original intention: improving civil servants' performance.

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