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Response to media enquiries on recruitment of EOC Chairperson

     In response to media enquiries regarding the open recruitment of the Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) by the Government, which commences today (September 3), a Government spokesman pointed out that in accordance with the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, the Chairperson shall be appointed for a term not exceeding five years. The term of office of three years for the new Chairperson is an appropriate arrangement. This would allow sufficient time for the new Chairperson to take forward the work of the EOC during his term of office, and to ensure the stability of its operations while carrying out longer-term planning. This would also address certain views in the community that a term of five years would be too long. 

     The spokesman said, "We have established a Selection Board for the purpose of the present recruitment. We have invited Dr Leong Che-hung, Professor Anthony Cheung and Mr Bernard Chan to join the Selection Board. They have extensive experience and knowledge respectively in the medical, education, social services and other fields. Dr Leong will chair the Selection Board. The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs and the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, being the principal officials responsible for policies related to the anti-discrimination ordinances and relevant areas, will also join the Board as members.

     "The Board will assess candidates primarily in accordance with the criteria listed in the recruitment advertisement. These include:

(a) a good general education;

(b) at least 15 years of relevant experience in public administration, professional practice or private sector management at a senior level; experience in leading and managing a sizable public or private organisation would be an advantage;

(c) a strong commitment to promoting equal opportunities and building an inclusive, barrier-free and harmonious society;

(d) clear vision, impeccable integrity, good leadership qualities particularly in steering a diverse governing board, management skills, mature personality;

(e) solid track record in public or community service in Hong Kong; and

(f) strong language and communication skills, including good command of Chinese and English.

     "The Chairperson is responsible for steering the board of the EOC, comprising members of diverse backgrounds, to promote equal opportunities. We consider that the above requirements are important. They have taken into account fully the views expressed by the Legislative Council (LegCo) Public Accounts Committee in examining the Audit Report on the EOC.

     "The basic salary of the EOC Chairperson has been pitched at Point 8 of the Directorate Pay Scale in the civil service since the establishment of the EOC. The arrangement was approved by the LegCo Finance Committee in 1995 and has been in place for over 10 years. The need to maintain the EOC Chairperson as a senior position has been reaffirmed in recent LegCo discussions. Aside from the salary, other terms of appointment include a cash allowance (to substitute for fringe benefits received by an officer at the equivalent Directorate rank in the civil service), medical insurance, and a gratuity upon completion of the agreement.

     The spokesman also pointed out, "The deadline for application in the open recruitment exercise is September 24. The period of application is three weeks, which is on par with that for the recruitment of The Ombudsman. We aim to arrange, in October, meetings of the Selection Board with relevant applicants. After the Board has come up with the most suitable candidate, it will put its proposal to the Chief Executive."

     The spokesman emphasised that the EOC Chairperson will be selected through open recruitment, and that there is no pre-determined candidate. The Government has engaged an executive search firm to carry out the recruitment exercise.

Ends/Thursday, September 3, 2009