The first CEO of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) Marc Dones announced his resignation on May 16th after just two years on the job. During that short period, homelessness in King County continued to climb (from 11,751 to 13,368), and neighborhood organizations repeatedly complained that KCRHA was unresponsive to cleaning up homeless encampments – even those next to elementary schools.
Despite federal, state, county, and many city governments sending millions in public funds to KCRHA, Dones and the growing bureaucracy at the authority were clearly failing in their job to help those who were suffering the cruel existence of living in encampments, under bridges, in parks, and on sidewalks.
One noted report used figures from KCRHA to determine that in 2022 “there are more people who are no longer suffering on our streets and in encampments due to death (at least 310) than the number of people who have moved into permanent housing (approximately 200).” The sad truth is that the Grim Reaper was doing a better job than Dones and his fellow liberal activists in removing people from the streets.
Despite his expanding record of failure, Dones, continued to push to increase the size and cost of the homeless fiefdom he oversaw. Earlier this year, KCRHA leadership announced that it was seeking $11.8 billion in public funds to combat the region’s homelessness crisis, a staggering $882,704 per homeless person.
To help place bodies into all the bureaucratic positions being developed by the authority, Dones and company advertised job openings stating that each position would receive “unlimited vacation” on top of the annual 12 paid government holidays every year, 12 paid sick leave days and two” personal holidays (total 26 days). And remember, all of this paid time off is on top of six-figure salaries with top-of-the-market medical, dental, and retirement benefits. All of this is paid for by your local and state taxes.
Unfortunately, various governing bodies affiliated with KCRHA were embroiled in administrative failures and controversies. The 11-member “Governing Committee” has three positions set aside for non-politicians. Yet two years after the committee was formed, two of these positions have never been filled.
The Co-Chair of KCRHA’s “Continuum of Care Committee” was ousted after she literally screamed her support for a prospective committee member who was a registered sex offender. This fact came to light after the prospective candidate was accused of improperly touching another committee member on numerous occasions. The Co-Chair was forced to resign and current membership of this committee is in such turmoil that its webpage no longer displays who is on the committee.
Finally, even those who were making money off of the growing homelessness bureaucracy, the “homeless service providers,” also complained that Dones’ KCRHA was not paying them on time and not signing the necessary contracts.
All of this cost and continued failure was too much, even within the unfettered liberal establishment that controls Seattle and King County. Liberal politicians slowly began to distance themselves from Dones and made statements that were not fully supportive of his actions.
These failures and eroding support finally led to Dones’ resignation from his $247,000 a year position, raising the question of who will replace Dones as the CEO of the extremely troubled and dysfunctional KCRHA?
Remember, Dones was hired in 2021 after other qualified candidates turned down the position. Dones never actually applied for the position, rather he was a highly paid “equity consultant” who was involved in the process to make sure the eventual CEO checked all the necessary liberal boxes. When the selection committee came up empty, Dones was tapped for the position even though he had never been in charge of a public entity anywhere near the size of what liberals want KCRHA to become.
A couple of weeks ago the KCRHA approved a search committee to find Dones’ replacement. Not surprisingly it is made up of many of the same members of the liberal establishment which failed to find a suitable leader two years ago.
Given the many large problems facing KCRHA, it is very doubtful any qualified person would want the CEO job. Especially when no qualified person wanted the job two years ago when the authority had a clean slate and strong support among community leaders and the public That support is no longer there due to the numerous mistakes made by Marc Dones during the past two years.
Thus, many people believe that City of Seattle and King County officials, along with others involved in the region’s liberal homelessness complex, will waste a great deal of time and money seeking to find a qualified candidate. It is easy to believe that one will not be found.
Thus the search committee will again desperately seek someone to fill the office with little consideration for actual qualifications, as they did when they selected Dones. The best guess is that the search committee will either tap someone who fills all the necessary liberal boxes, or simply ask current KCRHA Interim CEO Helen Howell (former Deputy CEO) to stay in the position.
Meanwhile, thousands of people continue to suffer on Seattle’s streets because of the failures of liberal policies and liberal politicians.
Remember that it was in 2015 that King County Executive Dow Constantine and now-disgraced former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared homelessness an emergency and promised local residents that they would do everything possible to eliminate homelessness in Seattle. At the time there were over 3,700 homeless people documented in the city. Today there are 10,000 more than that.
Maybe instead of seeking a new CEO for a failed government entity which implements failed policies, maybe it is time to scrap the KCRHA and try something different – a plan that doesn’t enable drug addiction and instead provides assistance to those who take responsibility for their lives.
Final Note on Marc Dones: After obtaining over a half million dollars in salary from the local taxpayers during the past two years, evidently Marc Dones needs more money before he leaves town. Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell signed an agreement which forces his constituents to pay Dones an additional $60,000 for 240 hours of work (this works out to an annual salary level of $480,000). The contract is for work that will “help the region maximize Medicaid funding for homelessness services.” Isn’t that something someone else within the growing KCRHA bureaucracy is already doing since this has long been known as a major funding source?