Denise Yue says she plans returning to the fold if her new appointment comes to an end The newly appointed secretary for the civil service said yesterday she would return to the service if her ministerial appointment ended. Denise Yue Chung-yee also pledged to do her best to communicate with the 160,000-strong civil service and build mutual trust. Announcing her appointment, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said: 'The secretary should be someone familiar with the civil service and [who] enjoys their respect. Apart from Denise, I couldn't think of a better candidate.' Ms Yue replaces Joseph Wong Wing-ping, who becomes secretary for commerce, industry and technology after more than five years as civil service minister. Under the ministerial system, the secretary for the civil service is chosen from the senior ranks of the civil service. The appointee is allowed to return to the service when their term ends. Unlike Mr Wong, who chose to sever his civil service ties in the middle of his term, Ms Yue, 53, said she intended to return to the civil service if her ministerial appointment ended. 'I don't think such an arrangement would have an impact on the trust of my civil service colleagues in me. Nor would it affect my work efficiency whatsoever.' Ms Yue chose to stay as a permanent secretary when the ministerial system was introduced by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa in 2002, but declined to say why she had now accepted a ministerial appointment. Her salary will rise from $181,050 a month to $268,305 during her ministerial term, which runs to June 30 next year. She would be put back on her civil service salary once she returns to the service. Ms Yue, head of the Association for Administrative Service in 2002-03, has won deep respect among the senior tiers of government. But her push for spending cuts when she was secretary for the treasury soured staff relations. She also angered unionists during the civil service row over pay cuts when she said accumulated deflation should be taken into account. Asked about the controversies yesterday, Ms Yue reiterated the government's promise that salaries would not be reduced to below the levels of 1997 during her term. Civil service groups generally welcomed her appointment and hoped she would be able to turn over a new leaf in strained staff relations. Felix Cheung Kwok-biu, chairman of the Civil Servants General Union, said it was a good time to review whether controversial measures such as outsourcing should be dropped. Mr Wong, whose portfolio includes the public broadcasting review, said it was inappropriate for him to comment on the first day of his appointment. But he stressed the importance of continuing a healthy public broadcasting service. In a farewell letter to 160,000 civil servants on Monday, he conceded that his job had not always been pleasing. During his tenure, spending on salaries and other staff-related benefits between 2001 and 2006 was reduced from $71.3 billion a year to $65.3 billion, he said. 'I have discharged my duties in carrying out the civil service reform. The mixed feelings are ... beyond description,' he said. 'But I firmly believe that the measures are in the community's interest.'