Orange County CEO Frank Kim Announces Retirement After Nearly Three Decades of Service

In a letter addressed to the Board of Supervisors, Orange County’s CEO, Frank Kim, has revealed his intention to retire next year, marking the end of an era after almost 29 years of dedicated service to the county. Kim, who has held various roles within the county, took on the position of CEO in 2015 and has been instrumental in managing a budget of $9.3 billion and overseeing the work of 18,000 employees.

A Legacy of Leadership

Kim, appointed as the top executive in 2015, has been a steady hand guiding the county through its financial landscape. His leadership has been crucial in navigating the complexities of a large government organization, dealing with issues ranging from budget management to overseeing public safety and community resources.

Stepping into a New Chapter

As Kim approaches the age of 55 next year, he expressed his desire to shift his focus to aspects of life beyond his professional career. Despite extending his contract through May 2025 just last year, Kim believes now is the opportune time to explore new interests, volunteer work, and pursue hobbies that have taken a backseat during his years of dedicated service.

Reflecting on Achievements

Throughout his tenure, Kim has been a driving force behind several significant projects, reflecting his commitment to enhancing the county’s infrastructure and services. He highlighted the creation of a modern animal shelter in Tustin and the transformation of the Civic Center as proud moments in his career.

Pressing Issues and Continuing Challenges

Addressing persistent challenges such as homelessness and mental health, Kim acknowledged the progress made in creating a homeless system of care. However, he emphasized that affordable housing remains a critical issue that requires collaborative efforts beyond the county’s capabilities alone.

Succession Planning

As the county faces the imminent departure of a seasoned leader, the question of Kim’s replacement arises. While Kim refrains from prescribing whether the successor should be internal or external, he believes there are strong candidates within the county government. The Board of Supervisors will play a pivotal role in determining the next CEO, recognizing the substantial shoes Kim leaves to fill.

Tributes and Acknowledgments

Supervisors expressed their respect for Kim’s decision to embark on the next chapter of his life. Second District Supervisor Vicente Sarmiento noted the professionalism and commitment Kim brought to the role, leaving behind an indelible mark. Fifth District Supervisor Katrina Foley acknowledged the “big loss” Kim’s departure represents, praising his depth of knowledge and experience.

A Farewell and Gratitude

In bidding farewell, Kim expressed gratitude to the public for their trust in the county government. Acknowledging both the successes and areas for improvement, he emphasized the county’s dedication to maintaining a high level of service.

As Orange County prepares to bid adieu to an influential leader, the focus shifts to the transition ahead and the continued pursuit of excellence in public service. Frank Kim’s retirement marks the end of a remarkable chapter, leaving behind a legacy that will be remembered in the annals of Orange County’s history.

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