Then-Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti talks with supporter Kim… (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday announced that former City Councilwoman Jan Perry will temporarily oversee the agency being created to spur business activity, one of three high-level appointments rolled out by his administration.
Perry, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor and later endorsed Garcetti, will serve temporarily as top executive of the new Economic Development Department, getting it up and running before handing it off to a permanent general manager, Garcetti spokesman Yusef Robb said.
During her 12 years in office, Perry focused heavily on real estate development, working to spur construction in downtown and parts of South Los Angeles. Garcetti said those efforts, including approval of the L.A. Live entertainment complex and hotel projects near the city's Convention Center, show that she has the expertise for the post.
Perry said in a statement that she and the mayor "share a passion for revitalizing neighborhoods and improving the quality of life for all Angelenos."
Carol Schatz, who heads the Central City Assn., a downtown-based business group, described the selection of Perry as "brilliant," calling her one of the most aggressive advocates for economic development on the council. "What happened in [Perry's old council] district is a reflection of that," she said.
Garcetti also announced that Doane Liu, currently chief of staff to Councilman Joe Buscaino, will become deputy mayor of city services, overseeing such agencies as the Department of Transportation, the Department of Water and Power and the Recreation and Parks Department.
Rich Llewellyn, who is currently chief of staff to Councilman Paul Koretz, will be counsel to the mayor. Llewellyn, who has been heading up the mayoral transition, will provide legal advice and serve as a senior advisor.
Three of Garcetti's four deputy mayor positions still have not been filled. However, the new mayor has installed a number of lower-level directors, who will be assigned to report to deputy mayors.
Longtime Garcetti aide Heather Repenning will be director of external affairs, overseeing the mayor's interactions with constituents and other government bodies, including the City Council. Robb will serve as director of communications. Stephen Cheung, an aide to former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, will serve as director of international trade, taking responsibility for the city's harbor and airport. Borja Leon, one of Villaraigosa's deputy mayors, will continue to handle transit issues as Garcetti's director of transportation.
Also staying on is former Villaraigosa aide Martha Preciado, serving as director of scheduling.
Garcetti will temporarily retain Eileen Decker, Villaraigosa's deputy mayor for public safety, until a new person is found for that position. In addition, Villaraigosa Deputy Chief of Staff Matt Szabo will stay on in an interim capacity as Garcetti carries out his transition, Robb said.
Kelli Bernard, a former Garcetti aide who currently works at the DWP, will serve in the mayor's office as interim chief of economic development as Garcetti conducts a nationwide search for someone to fill that job permanently.