Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn promoted a new deputy mayor Wednesday to oversee several key departments, including community development, cultural affairs and human relations.
Eric Brown, 35, has worked for Hahn for the past eight years as a special assistant, first in the city attorney's office and the last two years in the mayor's office.
Brown managed Hahn's Crenshaw campaign office during the mayoral election.
The mayor has been under pressure to diversify the ranks of his top staff. Brown is the second African American deputy mayor.
Former basketball star and local business leader Magic Johnson and others raised the issue with the mayor during talks about joining Hahn's anti-secession campaign last fall. Ken Lombard, president of Johnson's development company, said he and Johnson were told about the promotion.
"Eric is a very talented and capable member of his staff who deserved this opportunity," Lombard said. "My hat's off to the mayor and [Chief of Staff] Tim McOsker and everyone involved for just recognizing that Eric's a guy that has proven he deserved this opportunity."
Lombard said it didn't take any arm-twisting to persuade the mayor to increase the diversity of his staff; it just took finding the right person for the job.
"We didn't have to call him 50 times to do it," Lombard said.
Moreover, Lombard said he expects similar hires when other worthy candidates apply.
In a written statement, Hahn said: "For eight years, Eric Brown has been a key liaison for me and local business and community leaders on projects ranging from public safety to community development."
The mayor's office attached a photograph of Brown to the announcement of his hiring. Wong said the office is starting to do that more with such releases, based on requests from the media.
Brown will be responsible for several departments that deal with the community, including aging, disability, the Commission on the Status of Women and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Sports Arena.