Frank Kim Takes Over As Acting County CEO

Frank Kim, Orange County's chief financial officer.

Nick Gerda/Voice of OC

Frank Kim, Orange County's chief financial officer.

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For the second time in recent years, Orange County’s top finance officer is taking over the reins of the county government.

On Wednesday, county Chief Financial Officer Frank Kim took over as acting CEO while Mike Giancola is out on medical leave for the next month recuperating from back surgery.

Chief Operating Officer Mark Denny is actually the official that under normal circumstances would be in line to fill in for Giancola, but he remains a focus of an investigation into $1 million in questionable contracts while he was director of OC Parks.

While Supervisor Shawn Nelson and (former supervisor) John Moorlach – supported Denny, Supervisors’ Chairman Todd Spitzer argued to Giancola that it would be inappropriate for someone potentially under sanction to lead the county.

Spitzer said publicly that if the legal review involving Denny wasn’t finished by Jan. 21, then Kim not Denny would take over when Giancola left on leave.

The last CFO to take over was Bob Franz, who in 2012 was tapped to lead the county government when former CEO Tom Mauk resigned amidst the fallout from the prosecution of OC Public Works executive Carlos Bustamante for a series of felony sex crimes.

County supervisors chose Giancola as a consensus candidate for CEO after negotiations – led by former Supervisors Pat Bates and Janet Nguyen – with Santa Barbara CEO Chandra Wallar broke down.

Kim, a respected budget manager who has been with the county since 1995, has solid support among county supervisors.

“Frank is a longtime employee, he’s extremely well respected and very good at what he does as CFO,” Spitzer said.

“He’s a good placeholder,” Spitzer said. “We can feel confident with him in charge.”

“Frank Kim enjoys the benefit of a great reputation as a straight shooter and someone who can be trusted,” said Nick Berardino, general manager of the Orange County Employees Association.

Supervisor Michelle Steel gave Kim high marks saying Kim “truly understands county government.”

Nelson also was supportive, saying Kim was “solid.”

Kim, who currently earns $190,000 annually, has worked in numerous agencies including the County Executive Office, the Auditor-Controller Department, OC
Waste & Recycling and the Probation Department.

He received both a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach.

  • Ed Romero

    I hope that he doesn’t have the same policy that our Orange County Probation Department Accounting Unit Supervisor had. This Accounting Unit Supervisor would only hire ASIANS, what we all called the Orange County Probation Department Accounting Unit became unknown to most of our employees as the Orange County Probation Asian Accounting Unit. Another thing that I want to make very clear to everyone is that when I was first employed by the County of Orange, I had to read a paragraph in English, then I had to explain what the paragraph was about, I also had to do the same in Spanish because the job required that I be able to speak both languages Clearly and Fluently. All of a sudden the Probation
    Department began hiring Asians that couldn’t speak English, there were 2 at our Santa Ana Office, when I needed to make contact with them, I had to go to speak to them in person, because over the phone I couldn’t understand a thing they said, nor could they understand what I was talking about, I had to go and point at what I was talking about. I was replaced by an Asian that had the same problem, no one could understand what she said. So I hope Frank Kim doesn’t follow the policies of those Drug Dealing, Marijuana Smoking, Cocaine Snorting Corrupt GOP Lesbians that ran our Department for so many years.

  • Diego Vega

    Frank Kim is reasonably respectable and is generally well
    liked. He has enabled a few pre-determined job recruitments for well-connected individuals, and he provides the Board of Supervisors with skewed financial figures they ask for rather than providing the cold, hard numbers that may contradict the BOS’s political positions. Kim does have solid academic credentials, as opposed to CEO Mike Giancola who has an online degree from a diploma mill.

    Speaking of lack of academic credentials, I read where Giancola’s former department, OC Waste & Recycling, recently promoted a high school dropout to Deputy Director. It must feel good to work your tail off to graduate from college and possibly graduate school, spend years on the job developing knowledge, skills and abilities, to then take orders from a high school dropout.

  • Kathleen Tahilramani

    This is very good news. Frank Kim has the respect of County staff and management. He is experienced, knowledgeable and highly professional. He is seen as a leader who is ethical and straightforward. I wish him the very best as he moves into this role.