Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has told at least five of the city’s department heads that he has decided to keep them as high-level managers, part of his months-long effort to build a new administration.
Garcetti, who is going through a review of more than 30 department heads, has informed Michael LoGrande, who runs the Department of City Planning, and Brenda Barnette, general manager of the Animal Services Department, that they will get to stay. He has also moved to retain Enrique Zaldivar, director of the Bureau of Sanitation; Ray Ciranna, who runs the Fire and Police Pensions system; and Laura Trejo, who heads the Department of Aging.
“I’m delighted. I’m honored. And I’m looking forward to serving in the mayor’s administration and improving services to the community,” said Trejo, whose department directs funds to agencies that provide services to seniors, such as home-delivered meals.
Garcetti had promised during this year’s election campaign that he would inject new energy into City Hall by having general managers reapply for their jobs. When he took office July 1, he asked them to present numerical goals for their agencies and show how they would improve customer service, make better use of technology, foster economic development and operate in a more environmentally sustainable manner.
Not all of Garcetti’s decisions are pleasing activists. Animal rescuer Whitney Hope Smith had been hoping the mayor would use the review process to fire Barnette. The city, Smith said, needs someone who is better than Barnette at collaborating with the city’s animal activists and policymakers.
“She’s like a bull in a china shop,” Smith said.
Although some high-level managers have been contacted by Garcetti, others are still waiting. Grayce Liu, who heads the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, said Tuesday she had not yet heard from the mayor. Jon Kirk Murki, general manager of the Department of Recreation and Parks, told The Times the same thing.
Steve Reneker, who heads the Informational Technology Agency, said he received the call from Garcetti on Thursday. But he declined to say what the mayor’s decision was, referring questions to Deputy Mayor Rick Cole.
Garcetti spokesman Jeff Millman had no comment.
Zaldivar, whose agency handles trash pickup and wastewater treatment, said Garcetti informed him Sept. 24 that he would stay on. In the run-up to that decision, Zaldivar said he had told the mayor he believed in his “back to basics” approach.
Barnette, who oversees the city’s network of animal shelters, said she too received the call from Garcetti last week. Hired by then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2010, Barnette said she looked forward to helping Garcetti with his focus on statistical analysis.
“He sees we’ve accomplished some things, and I think he sees there are more accomplishments to come,” she said.