The Los Angeles Board of Public Works voted Wednesday to make Kevin James its new president, the latest move in the formation of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s administration.
One day after he fielded questions from the City Council about controversial statements he made as a talk radio host, James was chosen unanimously to preside over the powerful five-member board, which oversees such matters as street maintenance, sidewalk repairs and trash pickup.
The board is the only city commission with a full salary, paying members more than $136,000 annually. Garcetti replaced all five board appointees who had been serving under his predecessor, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Four of Garcetti’s five public works appointees have run unsuccessfully for city office. James ran for mayor but came in third in March, before endorsing Garcetti weeks later. Board member Mike Davis, a former state lawmaker, sought to replace Councilwoman Jan Perry in South Los Angeles earlier this year, but failed to make the runoff.
Board member Matt Szabo, a longtime Villaraigosa aide, ran for Garcetti’s Echo Park-to-Hollywood council seat in March and also failed to make the runoff. Board member Monica Rodriguez was an unsuccessful candidate for City Council in 2007 in the San Fernando Valley.
Rodriguez will serve as the board’s vice president. Szabo also is an advisor to Garcetti on labor issues.