BongHwan Kim has been appointed to oversee the Neighborhood Council system in the City of Los Angeles as the new general manager of the city’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE).

Kim, who was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is the first Korean American general manager in the city’s history, according to the city administrative officer. As Department of Neighborhood Empowerment general manager, Kim will be responsible for improving the workings of the city’s system of Neighborhood Councils.

He takes over for former general manager Carol Baker Tharp, who passed away last year. The appointment is subject to Los Angeles City Council confirmation.

“BongHwan Kim’s leadership skills have been finely honed through many years of working in diverse communities on a wide range of political and community development issues,” Villaraigosa said. “He will be an asset and an ally for the neighborhoods of this city.”

Kim has served as interim general manager of the department since November and as acting general manager and assistant general manager since March last year.

He has been responsible for overall management of the department, including development of budget, strategic planning, programs and services, policies, personnel and constituent relations.

Kim will be supported by the executive director of the Neighborhood Council Review Commission, Raphael Sonenshein, as a consultant to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment.

Richard Dickenson, former senior staff of the city administrative officer, will also serve as a consultant to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, assisting in the implementation of the Review Commission recommendations.

In September, the Review Commission issued its final report, exploring the Neighborhood Council system supported by the voters in 1999 and recommending changes to make the system more effective.

The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment’s mission is to promote public participation in government through a citywide system of Neighborhood Councils.