December 04, 2014

 

By Danny J. Bakewell Jr. 

Executive Editor 

By Kenneth D. Miller 

Assistant Managing Editor 

 

 

William T. Fujioka began his dynamic civic career as a custodian in Santa Clara in 1972 and between the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County rose through the ranks to become its most important figure through a career that spanned some four decades.

 

Affectionately known simply as ‘Bill’ by friends and colleagues, he officially retired from the county as chief financial officer on November 30.

 

Fujioka leaves an enormous legacy and giant shoes to fill. He was instrumental in transforming the predominantly white male county into one that reflects its actual diversity: Blacks, women and people of color.

 

He was responsible for 37 departments, 30 of which reported directly to him. He also managed the county’s 27 billion dollar budget.

 

“I am very proud that when I came here I was able to appoint African Americans and people of color as department heads and thus they too feel responsible for doing the same,” Fujioka told the Sentinel.

 

Those departments include human resources, consumer affairs, the department of public works and veteran affairs.

 

Fujioka was born and raised in Los Angeles County and became a public administrator there. He was its Chief Executive Officer since July 2007. He implemented the new governance structure and was responsible with executive authority over most county departments and operations.

 

As CEO he was responsible for managing the largest county in the nation (over 10 million residents) with over 100,000 employees; and responsible for countywide policy and program leadership — from health and social services to public safety, community and municipal services to recreation/culture and the arts.

 

Since he first came to the county in 1978 he held various positions.  He was an examinations analyst, civil service appeals analyst, personnel officer, and administrator in the Department of Health Services, including administrator and chief executive officer of High Desert Hospital/Antelope Valley Cluster.  He left the County in 1997 to become general manager of the Personnel Department for the city of Los Angeles serving in this capacity for two years.  In August 1999, he was named Los Angeles' City Administrative Officer and served for eight years in that capacity before retiring.  After a brief retirement, he was appointed by the Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors as the first Chief Executive Officer in July 2007.

 

He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology (Social Research) from the University of California, Santa Cruz, 1970-1974, and graduated Cum Laude.  He is married to Darlene Kuba and has one son (Jason, who is in college). Darlene worked for the late City Councilman Gil Lindsay.

 

During the recession, he guided the county without any layoffs, furloughs or major deductions.

 

“Financial stability is the big thing. During the recession we were able to get two bond rating increases and that’s unheard of,” he said.

 

He also was instrumental in the reopening of Martin Luther King Hospital in Watts, and built a dozen libraries.

 

Now, as he begins his retirement he wants to focus on seniors and will be committing his time and resources to organizations that aid the elderly.

Category: News



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