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Jerry Cornfield | jcornfield@heraldnet.com
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2008, 10:33 a.m.

Sohn is on forecast farewell tour

Will Feb. 15 be Chang Mook Sohn’s final revenue forecast? Is he getting ready to run for state treasurer? Or is it retirement he’s pondering?

These are all questions spurred by seeing the governor's proposed budget includes $176,000 for a “succession plan” for the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council – the agency Sohn has run as executive director since 1984.

The Office of Financial Management inserted the dollars based on a request from the agency.

OFM Communications Director Glenn Kuper told me in an e-mail:
“We have not received an official retirement notice from Chang Mook, but we allocated the money anticipating there may be high-ranking staff retirements in the agency.”

A senior revenue forecaster – not Sohn – is retiring and part of the money is to hire and train a replacement.

But a portion of the $176,000 is to prepare for a search for a new executive director – that is Sohn’s job.

When he's leaving and why are mysteries.

I phoned Chang Mook Sohn about whom I wrote in 2006 and the Korean Journal profiled more recently. (Please note, Sohn’s portrait was taken by The Herald Photographer Kevin Nortz.)

Sohn was as polite as he was evasive when I asked if he is leaving soon to run for office or getting set to retire.

He seemed to think I knew the answers.

What I know is next year he’ll turn 65.

And I also understand he may run for state treasurer this fall - a race he reportedly started exploring last September.

Sohn has not filed any paperwork with state Public Disclosure Commission. If he is serious and wants to mount an effective campaign, he’ll need to get started right away.

After Feb. 15, his next forecast is due out June 15. Campaigning while continuing in his job could certainly generate criticism. Right now Sohn enjoys wide respect for developing credible reports unbent by political winds.

Should he run, he'll join two announced candidates Democrat. state Rep. Jim McIntire and Republican Alan Martin.

These next few days could be very interesting.


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