The mayor

ALL IN ALL, it was a mixed year for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who showed an impressive grasp of the issues and an even better sense -- too fine a sense, really -- of the politics. His performance evaluation reflects both his promise and a few of his problems.

Knowledge of job: Exceeds expectations. Employee grasps inspirational and leadership roles of position and has used knowledge to establish promising programs to increase size of police force, extend transportation system and seek budget efficiencies. Excels at identifying and hiring first-rate support staff. Has commanded the attention of the entire organization and has, in some quarters, improved morale. Seems to have been born for the job.

Job effectiveness: Meets expectations. Brokered bus driver contract, settled suit over airport modernization, began subway study. Was late in responding to personnel issues in Fire Department. Has not completed tasks related to homeless initiative. Employee has promised a broad array of organization-wide initiatives, but more time is needed to fully evaluate performance. It should be noted that expectations are low, based on performance of previous employees in position.

Critical thinking skills: Meets expectations. Excels at strategic thinking, but often appears to use skill merely to build resume for future positions.

Works well with others: Needs improvement. Employee's teamwork and consensus-building skills were a key factor in his hiring, but in the most recent evaluation period, employee has exhibited tendency to undermine and brow-beat co-workers. Examples include state legislators who complained of undue pressure to vote for employee's subpar school reform package. It is also of concern that employee played a role in getting candidates for other positions -- City Council, Board of Education -- to drop out of contention. Employee is overly sensitive to criticism and often appears too concerned with self-promotion.

Financial management: Needs further review. Led team that produced excellent budget. But employee's fundraising outside the organization for his school initiatives and other programs is still being evaluated and could be problematic.

Areas for improvement: Employee should engage less in office politics and more on substantive tasks, including public safety, business development and quality-of-life issues. Employee also should lighten up and not worry so much about what people say about him at the water cooler. Or in the newspapers, for that matter.

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