Long-time GOP donor Dale Dykema had an op-ed in yesterday’s Orange County Register asking the Board of Supervisors to appoint Hieu Nguyen (or is it Hugh Nguyen?) to the OC Clerk-Recorder vacancy.
Dykema doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to promoting county bureaucrats with political ambitions. His last pick was Carlos Bustamante.
Hieu Nguyen is a family man, not a serial adulterer. But Dykema has a blind spot. He writes that “We don’t need another politician to run the recorder’s office,” a slap at both former Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly and former Sen. Dick Ackerman, one of Nguyen’s competitors for the appointment. He’s wrong. Hieu Nguyen is a politician. He just hasn’t been able to get elected to anything.
The Clerk-Recorder’s office would operate fine under Hieu Nguyen, but the same can be said of all the candidates. If the Supervisors want a Clerk-Recorder who is squirrelly and evasive, whom they can never quite be sure is being candid with them, they should appoint Hieu Nguyen.
Nguyen ran for OC Clerk-Recorder in 2010 and tried using “Assistant Orange County Clerk” as his ballot title. Daly sued him and won. Nguyen’s real job title was “Assistant Clerk, Files Management/Administration Division.”
The judge ruled Nguyen was misleading voters: “‘Assistant Orange County Clerk’ is deceptive in that, in the context of the Clerk-Recorder election, it connotes second in command to the incumbent Daly and experience in the office.”
There was also a legal challenge to his using the Americanized “Hugh ” on the ballot, since that was not his legal name. The challenge was withdrawn because Nguyen said he was in the process of legally changing his name to “Hugh.” Three years later, he’s still going by Hieu, not Hugh. The story keeps changing.
Nguyen states in his application for the C-R post that he has been Assistant Clerk for almost seven years, writing that he worked for the C-R’s office until “June 2006, when I was promoted to Assistant Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, which is my current position at the County of Orange.”
Nguyen said something different on his 2010 campaign website, writing he had that job only since 2008: “For the past two years, I have worked at Orange County in the position of Assistant County Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.” Which is it?
Nguyen used to promote himself as a fiscal conservative in the 2010 campaign by saying he voluntarily reduced his work hours to do his part in easing the county’s budget crunch. He was reducing his work hours, but not for the reasons he gave the public. The real reason is he was/is partners in a Lee’s Sandwiches franchise and was reducing his county work hours so he could work at his sandwich shop.
Hieu Nguyen working counter at his Lee’s Sandwiches franchise on a Monday afternoon.
It’s not disturbing that Nguyen would take some time off to start a small business. That’s hard work. What’s disturbing was the phony cover story about reducing his hours to save the county money, instead of being candid. And if he could meet his county work duties on a less than full-time basis, how vital could his Assistant Clerk job be?
It’s an open secret that in the Hall of Administration, Hieu Nguyen is believed to be the author of the anonymous letter last summer claiming Daly was sexually harassing employees and that Renee Ramirez knew all about it and did nothing. The claims were debunked. Since the letter was sent to the Board after Daly won the Assembly primary, it was obvious the real target was Ramirez, and the purpose was to knock out a rival for the C-R appointment.
The Board of Supervisors have several qualified candidates to choose from. But if they are looking for something different, for a Clerk-Recorder who will give them straight answers, Hieu/Hugh Nguyen is not the person for the jo.