By a vote of 3-o The City Council’s Education and Neighborhoods Committee confirmed Bong Hwan “BH” Kim as the permanent General Manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE).
Kim has qualities that could be put to good use by the neighborhood councils. His personality and institutional knowledge could aid outreach efforts designed to improve awareness of the councils. I personally like him and could see him in a supporting role.
As a General Manager, however, Kim has been a major disappointment. While he was aware of serious issues from Laura Chick’s audit report that covered the period of 2003-2006 (Kim was not the GM during that period), he took no measurable action to make corrections during his tenure.
The same problems were still evident when City Controller Greuel’s staff did a follow-up audit in 2009. To his credit, he requested the audit, but the findings should not have been a surprise to him as neighborhood council members had brought many of the control issues to his attention before.
And what did he expect the audit would yield since he had not taken any action or even developed a plan to deal with the findings of the prior report?
He was clearly in over his head and actually resigned in February 2010 when the mayor proposed moving DONE under the Community Development Department. He was reappointed, but on an interim basis.
For the good of the neighborhood council system, Kim should have stuck by his resignation. He could have stayed on in a support capacity to assist a replacement.
The real disappointment, though, is the E&N Committee’s failure to conduct an executive search for a replacement. DONE, the city and the neighborhood councils deserve the best and brightest for $155,000 per year. There is zero chance of that now.
Council Member Paul Krekorian, who has done much to support the neighborhood councils, inexplicably dropped the ball on this.
I fear that two years from now, we will find very little has changed at DONE. It will be up to the personal, unpaid sacrifice of highly motivated NC members to carry the flag.