There was no effort to undermine the chairman's authority, say panel members who hired the dismissed staffer Members of the panel that hired Patrick Yu Chung-yin as director of operations of the Equal Opportunities Commission have lashed out at the commission's new chairman for sacking him without going through proper procedures. The members also criticised as groundless reported claims by chairman Michael Wong Kin-chow that Mr Yu's appointment by his predecessor, Anna Wu Hung-yuk, was an attempt to pre-empt his authority. Mr Yu, who revealed his dismissal last week, was recruited by a selection committee of four EOC board members and Ms Wu. One of the committee's members, Hung Suet-lin, who is no longer on the EOC board, said Mr Yu had been selected after a thorough search and formal procedures. 'We hired a human resources firm, posted an advertisement, formed a selection committee and narrowed the search to five candidates,' Ms Hung said. 'Patrick Yu [was selected because he] has experience in drafting equal opportunities law and in international mechanisms on equal opportunities, and he has an international network with human rights organisations.' Ms Hung said that when Mr Yu was interviewed, the government was still considering whether to legislate against racism and members felt Mr Yu's experience may prove useful. Ms Hung said Mr Yu had been unanimously selected by the panel. When a staff member had to be fired, she said, it was usual to go through proper procedures in the administrative committee before making a final decision. Fellow selection committee member, Fung Hon-yuen, said his main concern was the controversy over whether Mr Yu's hiring was a challenge to Mr Wong's authority. 'That is not true - the position was created by the EOC at the end of last year because we needed to make the organisation more efficient and try to reorganise procedures for complaints and conciliation,' Professor Fung said. 'The appointment was required for operational reasons, not to pre-empt anybody.' Ms Hung said an explanation of the decision to sack Mr Yu even before he was due to start work on November 1 was needed to restore public confidence in the EOC. Professor Fung said he was 'most disappointed' in the way the controversy had been handled. 'I get the impression [Mr Wong] is trying to do the bare legal minimum [in his obligations to Mr Yu's contract], but the EOC is not a commercial firm and the legal minimum is not good enough,' he said. 'They must do many times more than what is required by law.' Professor Fung added that Mr Wong did not demonstrate the kind of sensitivity required of the EOC chairman and ought to step down. The other selection committee members, Joseph Kwok Kin-fun and Peter Yeung Kong-hing could not be reached for comment yesterday. On Monday, Mr Yeung had said that Mr Wong had his backing to make the final decision on Mr Yu's future. Former chairwoman Ms Wu declined comment. Meanwhile, EOC member Chan Yu yesterday insisted there had been no decision to dismiss Mr Yu at a members' meeting of September 18. 'I would have expected the chair to at least inform me of the decision at an earlier time instead of hearing it just before Mr Yu's press conference last week.'