L.A. Council names key policy advisor, first woman to hold job

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to name longtime city employee Sharon Tso to become its top policy advisor, making her the first woman and first person of color to hold the key position, according to council officials.

Council members lavished praise on Tso before the vote. “Not only is she qualified ... but quite frankly, well overqualified. She is spectacular and brilliant and honest and ethical, sharp as a tack,” Councilman Mitch Englander said Tuesday.

As chief legislative analyst, Tso will be charged with advising the council on a vast array of issues, helping to prepare legislation and offering policy recommendations. She will begin the job in late August, after longtime chief Gerry Miller retires.

“It is my hope that my experience and perspective will enable me to build upon Gerry’s work and continue to support the Council in their mission to serve all Angelenos,” Tso said in a statement last week after council members announced their plans to tap her for the job.


Tso, whose current title is executive officer, has served in the office of the chief legislative analyst for 20 years. She has previously worked in several city departments, including the Department of Water and Power, the Department of General Services, and the Office of the City Administrative Officer.

“I am dedicated to increasing the diversity in our city’s top positions and she is a prime example of a woman ready to lead,” City Councilwoman Nury Martinez said in a press release last week, announcing her motion to choose Tso for the job.

Martinez said Tuesday that she had found Tso extremely knowledgeable and helpful in her nine months on the council. Councilman Jose Huizar called the pick “a no-brainer for a woman with a lot of brains.”

The role, though lesser known than that of other top managers, is one of the most important in the city, said Fernando Guerra, director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University.

“They work to make the City Council work,” Guerra said. “A council member envisions a machine. But the CLA puts in all the gears and screws and bolts that make that machine work.”

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