Turnover in the mayoral suite

Considering how many confidential requests I received this week for the email address to apply for jobs with Mayor Villaraigosa's press office, there should be a lot of interest in this item — beyond the usual political staffers and media hounds. Those job openings that LA Observed broke the news on Tuesday presaged a spate of changes that hit today. Deputy Mayor Cecile Ablack, who came from Yale in August 2005 to run the communications operation, is leaving to head up global corporate communications for the William Morris Agency. Ablack, who used to work for the Clinton Administration, kept a pretty low profile around City Hall. I asked a Villaraigosa-friendly elected official a few months ago where Ablack fit on the image-shaping team, and the elected didn't know.

Villaraigosa announced tonight that his new Deputy Mayor for Communications and Strategy is Sean Clegg, a veteran Democratic operative who since January has been a senior advisor writing the mayor's speeches. Clegg used to work at SCN Public Relations, the San Francisco firm headed by Villaraigosa campaign consultant Ace Smith. A couple of press aides are also leaving. Rebekah Kim becomes Public Affairs and Community Relations Manager at LA Inc. Ben Golombek is moving up to the fourth floor to be director of communications for Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, a job that I believe Villaraigosa press secretaries Janelle Erickson and Matt Szabo both have on their resumes. As it was explained to me, the media office now has Clegg at the top, with Erickson and Szabo reporting to him. Press deputies Diana Rubio, Darryl Ryan and Elizabeth Kivowitz and press aide Patricia Park report to Erickson and Szabo.

Tonight's release on Clegg and Ablack follows after the jump.


LOS ANGELES - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today named Sean Clegg as his Deputy Mayor for Communications and Strategy. Mr. Clegg will lead the Communications team after joining the Villaraigosa Administration as a Senior Advisor to the Mayor in January 2006, where he has served as a strategic advisor and as the Mayor’s primary speech writer.

“Sean is an obvious choice to head the Communications office. He has been a key member of my senior staff, a trusted advisor and he is already an integral part of our communications and policy teams,” Mayor Villaraigosa said.

As Deputy Mayor for Communications and Strategy, Clegg will be responsible for managing and directing the Mayor’s Office of Communications and directing communications and policy strategy.

Clegg has over 15 years of experience developing and executing message strategy, research, political and constituent outreach and campaign management for a wide variety of public figures. Before joining Mayor Villaraigosa, Clegg served as the vice president and partner of SCN Public Relations, a San Francisco firm specializing in campaign management, media relations, speech writing and research. Clegg managed accounts for clients including Representative Richard Gephardt (D-MO), Governor Gray Davis, Senator Barbara Boxer, and California Treasurer Phil Angelides, among many others. Over the years, Clegg has worked as a campaign press secretary, researcher, and U.S. Senate staffer. He lives in Silver Lake with his wife Sarah and their six-month-old son, Evan.

Outgoing Deputy Mayor Cecile Ablack will be joining the William Morris Agency.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Ralph Lawler of the Clippers and the age of Aquarius
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
Last bastion of free parking? Loyola Marymount to charge students
Matt Kemp, Dodgers and Kings start big weekend the right way
LA Times writers revisit their '92 riots observations
Recent Villaraigosa stories on LA Observed:
Mayor walks out on Antonovich over 'gang-rape' quip
CicLAvia returns to the streets on Sunday
DNC chair does Villaraigosa no favors on KABC
Time jumps on the 'Antonio has revived' bandwagon
Villaraigosa sets sights 'beyond Los Angeles,' NYT observes
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