|LCQ5: Appointment of the Head of Office of the Chief Executive-elect
Following is a question by the Hon Wong Sing-chi and a reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, in the Legislative Council today (May 23):
The Chief Executive-elect's Office (CEEO) has recently announced the appointment of Mrs Fanny Law as the Head of CEEO, the rank of which is equivalent to that of a Director of Bureau. According to the Code for Officials under the Political Appointment System (the Code), politically appointed officials who step down from office have to observe the following three rules: first, within one year after stepping down from office, they shall seek the advice of a committee appointed for this purpose by the Chief Executive (CE) before commencing any employment; second, within one year after stepping down from office, they shall not represent any person in connection with any claim, action, demand, proceedings, transaction or negotiation against or with the Government; and third, within one year after stepping down from office, they shall not engage in any lobbying activities on matters relating to the Government. It has been reported that the Government has exempted Mrs Fanny Law, who is a politically appointed official, from certain provisions under the Code, so that she will not be subject to part of the Code after stepping down from office. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
(a) of the provisions of the Code from which Mrs Fanny Law has been granted exemption by the Government; the justifications for such exemption; whether the consent of the Secretary for the Civil Service to grant such exemption has been given; if not, whether CE-elect has exercised the power of exemption to enable her to enjoy such privilege of exemption; if not, who has exercised the power of exemption;
(b) as it has been reported that recently, in the cases of Miss Ran Chen and Mrs Fanny Law, the Government has exceptionally exercised the power of exemption, whether the authorities have assessed if the granting of such exemption one after another will cause the public to think that CEEO possess the privilege to incessantly grant exemption without being subject to any regulation; and
(c) given that society has queried and expressed objection to the granting of exemption to Mrs Fanny Law, and there are concerns that personal interests and transfer of benefits may be involved, whether the authorities will re-assess if the granting of exemption this time is correct, and whether they will consider withdrawing it?
On behalf of the Office of the Chief Executive-elect (CEEO), I respond to the question raised by Hon Wong Sing-chi as follows:
(1) According to the paper titled "Establishment of the Office of the Chief Executive-Elect" submitted by the Administration to the Panel on Constitutional Affairs of this Council in January 2012, the Head of CEEO is equivalent to a Director of Bureau in terms of rank. It is a special appointment under non-civil service terms. As with the rest of the staff in CEEO, the Head of CEEO is accountable to the Chief Executive-elect. As advised by CEEO, Mrs Fanny Law was appointed the Head of CEEO on April 20, 2012. Her term of office will last until June 30, 2012, i.e. only for two months or so. The Head of CEEO is appointed by the Secretary-General of CEEO under the delegated authority of the incumbent Chief Executive. The appointee is subject to terms set out in the contract. The post-service restrictions in the contract are drawn up having regard to the contract terms adopted for politically appointed officials of similar rank and are suitably adjusted in light of the contract period and scope of duties of the post concerned. The arrangement is agreed by both the Chief Executive-elect and the incumbent Chief Executive. As regards the specific details, the CEEO advises that the details of individual contracts would not be revealed. However, it should be emphasised that the Head of CEEO is not an official under the political appointment system. Since the officials covered by the Code for Officials under the Political Appointment System do not include the Head of CEEO, the question of exemption in respect of the post from the Code does not arise.
(2) The CEEO advises that the appointment of the Head of CEEO is in line with existing rules and procedures. It does not involve any so called "privilege".
(3) The CEEO advises that as the appointment of the Head of CEEO does not involve any so called "exemption" as suggested by the Member, the issue of withdrawal of "exemption" does not arise.
Ends/Wednesday, May 23, 2012