Restrict and balance power of department heads

Updated: 2014-10-09 18:02

By Li Yang(

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The government reform should focus on restricting the power of the department head through a “power list” model that can work transparently under close supervision, says an article in The People’s Daily. Excerpt:

According to the arrangement of the central authority, the main leaders of the province and city will not directly be responsible for personnel and financial affairs. This is a good beginning to restrict and balance the powers of main department leaders.

The department heads of various levels of governments are central to power practices. They are prone to abuse their powers or seek illegal profits from their power because of the loose supervision and concentrated power in their hands.

The main leaders should think more of strategic decisions. There should be a sound distribution of labor within a department. This is a good way to restrict and balance power.

But it is easier said than done. Although the department heads are no longer in charge of personnel and financial matters, the decision-making power is not delegated or passed to the other people within the department. At last, the whole department has to follow the heads’ decisions.

A good way to settle the issue is to implement the “power list” model, which strictly and clearly clarifies the duties and powers of different people in a department. The officials cannot exercise power out of the list.

There should be a democratic decision-making mechanism in a department. All main officials in a department should have the right to show their attitudes.