Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Mayor Garcetti appoints supporters to coveted Public Works Commission

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A former mayoral candidate and a longtime aide to former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be appointed to the Board of Public Works, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Friday. 

One of the designees, attorney Kevin James, is the second of Garcetti's former rivals-turned-backers to get a job in the new mayor's administration.  Former Councilwoman Jan Perry was recently tapped to lead the newly created Economic Development Department. 

The Board of Public Works oversees construction of public projects, as well as the departments responsible for sanitation, graffiti removal and street maintenance. It is the only paid commission in the city; its members receive an annual salary of $138,000 and their appointments are subject to approval by the city council. 

The other appointees include: Matt Szabo, a former deputy mayor to Villaraigosa; Barbara Romero of the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority; former Assemblyman Mike Davis; and Monica Rodriguez, an executive with the California Association of Realtors. Szabo and Davis made unsuccessful runs for city council in the recent municipal election. 

"I will collaborate closely with the board to deliver more services for less money, improve customer service, and strengthen our infrastructure to improve life for L.A. families and attract businesses," Garcetti said.

The mayor also appointed Rick Cole as Deputy Mayor of Budget and Innovation. Cole is a former mayor of Pasadena and former city manager of Ventura. He was most recently the interim chief operating officer to the Local Government Commission in Sacramento. In his new role, Cole will be responsible for overseeing the city's budget, pension funds, chief technology officer and chief sustainability officer.

"He's someone with a proven ability to both conceive of innovative solutions and deliver results.  He will be a critical asset to my agenda of balancing the budget and making City Hall work better," Garcetti said in a statement. 

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