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KCRHA CEO Marc Dones Steps Down

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Post Mortem

Even before Marc Dones abruptly resigned on Tuesday as CEO of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (@KingCoRHA), the agency was under heavy scrutiny for it’s performance or lack thereof. Questions were being raised about spending and salaries, especially after Dones asked for $12 billion dollars to fund housing in the region.

As Helen Howell becomes interim CEO, the KCRHA Governing Committee and other boards have a lot of soul searching to do. Do they stay the course and stick to the framework left by Dones, or is it time for a total gut rehab? Clearly, the “HOUSING FIRST” strategy is not working.

The public is asking for more transparency and accountability, like actual measures of success and failure. In his exit letter, Dones touts what he claims are accomplishments: “In two years, we have gone from an agency of one person to an agency of over 100, clearly outlined a core focus on unsheltered homelessness, resolved 14 major encampments, deployed the most successful emergency housing voucher strategy in the country, and created pathways inside for over 200 people living unsheltered in the downtown core. We completely rethought the point in time count, created better data strategies, and finally landed on a comprehensive and stable estimate of the number of people who experience homelessness in the county each year. And most importantly we brought thousands of people inside, boosting the numbers of exits to housing to over what they had been in the previous two years before the Authority began operations.”

Under Dones’ watch, the KCRHA has spent millions of dollars to address homelessness, with a lot of it going to overhead like salaries. According to KCRHA’s 2022 count, there are still 53,000 homeless people in the region. Are these results worth the financial cost? Just drive through #Seattle, #Bellevue, #Auburn, #Renton, #Burien, #Kent, #Shoreline, #Tukwila right now to see for yourself.

I’m still working through a lot of PDR’s and data dumps. Fascinating stuff happening behind the scenes with this agency. Some serious palace intrigue. In case you apply for a job at KCRHA, here is what you can expect to be paid. For starters, here is a breakdown of the most recent salaries. #Seattle#KingCounty

*Apparently, some employee names are blacked out for personal safety reasons.

Rest of the List

Dones was stacking paper! These salaries put the pay in journalism to shame. No wonder so many reporters are exiting the business.

Lots of Interesting Titles

I still do not know what all these jobs entail and how it’s related to addressing the homeless crisis.

And that’s all I got for now

Clearly there are now multiple job openings.

Dones Quits

This is Dones with his opening monologue at the KCRHA Implementation Board Meeting on May 10. No indication he would actually resign. He’s been under tremendous pressure and scrutiny after a series of major missteps and performance failures.

Was Dones Pressured to Quit?

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, King County Executive Dow Constantine, KCRHA Governing Committee with this joint statement. #Seattle #KingCounty

Crisis Management Wasn’t Enough

Earlier this month, KCRHA dropped this promo video featuring embattled CEO Marc Dones who rarely takes questions from the media. It launched as his agency was being accused of incompetence and mismanagement. #Seattle

Backing Questionable Providers

KCRHA is still being scrutinized for it’s relationship with The Lived Experience Coalition. Back in February, nearly 40 homeless men/women were kicked out of a hotel for alleged violations under the LEC’s watch. #Seattle

Stunning Rebuke

Again in Feb, lawmakers picking apart CEO Marc Dones and his “wrong” interpretation of @GovInslee ‘s Right of Way Initiative. Dones’ insistence on “permanent housing” delayed King County encampment sweeps. #Seattle @kcexec @MayorofSeattle

Final Word

Gov. Inslee confirmed proviso language DOES NOT require offers of “permanent housing ” to homeless on state right of ways. DIRECT rebuke of @KingCoRHA CEO Marc Dones’ interpretation. #Seattle

Parents Protest

In March, parents at John Stanford Int. School and neighbors protested after @WSDOT and KCRHA (@kingcoRHA) failed to remove the Ship Canal Bridge encampment, the scene of multiple shootings, fires, and deaths. #Seattle

Jonathan Choe

Journalist and Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Jonathan Choe is a journalist and Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth and Poverty, covering homelessness issues for its Fix Homelessness initiative. Prior to joining Discovery, Choe spent several years as one of the lead reporters at KOMO-TV, consistently the top rated television station in Seattle. His in depth stories on crime and deep dive investigations into the homeless crisis led to measurable results in the community, including changes in public policy. Choe has more than two decades of experience in television news behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and Tribune. He has also been nominated and honored with multiple industry awards including an Emmy. Choe spent several years teaching classes on emerging media and entrepreneurship to under privileged youth in inner city Chicago. As an independent journalist, Choe also contributes regularly to the Mill Creek View and Lynnwood Times and has reported on exclusive stories in the past year for Daily Wire and The Postmillennial.