Mayor makes gang czar his chief *

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's first major staff shakeup goes like this: Rev. Jeff Carr, his Director of Gang Reduction and Youth Development who has been taking a more prominent administration role, replaces Robin Kramer as chief of staff. Carr oversaw creatiion of the Summer Nights Lights program that Villaraigosa seems highly enamored of and used to run Sojourners/Call to Renewal, called "a progressive Christian social justice organization" in Washington, D.C. Kramer, a City Hall veteran, has run the staff since before Vilaraigosa's 2005 swearing-in. Jay Carson, a former senior staffer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and Communications Director for the William J. Clinton Foundation, joins as Chief Deputy Mayor. "Insiders say Carr will likely have a more demanding style than Kramer, who is widely respected and well-liked among City Council members and has been considered a major influence in helping the mayor get his policy initiatives approved," Rick Orlov posts at the Daily News. "Kramer's departure and the ascension of Carr gives Villaraigosa an opportunity to reinvigorate his mayoral agenda - and his political future - now that he has decided against running for governor." Carson has been working most recently for Steve Bing's Shangri-La Industries, says Politico. The LAT notes that Bing wants to develop the factory for those AnsaldoBreda rail cars the mayor wants and the MTA doesn't.

* Update: Kramer informed the mayor two months ago that she planned to leave, Phil Willon says at the LAT. Also leaving is deputy chief of staff Dan Grunfeld, who is going to a private law firm.

And this: The mayor's office sent out a revised news release, three hours after the press conference, confirming Grunfeld's exit — was the office scooped by the Times? — and adding a quote from New York mayor Michael Bloomberg: "Effective mayors are surrounded by effective agents. Jay is the guy any big city mayor needs to get things done." 3:30: A second clarification from Villaraigosa on Grunfeld's departure.

The mayor's press release, which oddly quotes LAPD chief Bratton praising Carr and a union chief praising Carson, is after the jump.


Names Reverend Jeff Carr Chief of Staff and Jay Carson Chief Deputy Mayor

LOS ANGELES – Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced today changes in his administration naming Reverend Jeff Carr, the City’s Director of Gang Reduction and Youth Development, as Chief of Staff and Jay Carson, former senior staffer for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign, as Chief Deputy Mayor.

“Today is about the future and I am confident that this new leadership team will help lead the City in a new direction and bring a tenacious demand for results,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “As Director of Gang Reduction and Youth Development, Rev. Jeff Carr led the creation of the first comprehensive, results-based anti-gang strategy in city history, and brought hope and opportunity to some of L.A.’s most high-crime neighborhoods through the Summer Night Lights program. Jay Carson has served in key positions at the highest levels national and municipal government, including working as Traveling Press Secretary for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Communications Director for the William J. Clinton Foundation.”

Rev. Carr has extensive experience in implementing youth development programs with unique expertise in the development and implementation of organizational, administrative, and fundraising strategies for non-profit organizations.

Prior to his work as the Director for Gang Reduction and Youth Development, Rev. Carr served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff of Sojourners/Call to Renewal in Washington, DC, a progressive Christian social justice organization where he managed the 50-employee, $5.5 million non-profit and led the finance, personnel, and marketing and development components of the organization.

“Jeff Carr is one of the most capable leaders I have ever worked with,” said Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners. “He combines great political skills with a clear moral compass – a rarity in public life these days. With his deep concerns for the well-being of the youth of the city of Los Angeles, he begins his new and important responsibilities with exactly the right focus. I wish him well.”

Prior to this, Rev. Carr spent 16 years at the Bresee Foundation, a Los Angeles based non-profit organization serving one of the poorest and most densely populated communities in Los Angeles County.

While at the Bresee Foundation, Rev. Carr successfully facilitated and managed the growth of the organization’s budget from $450,000 to $1.8 million.

Rev. Carr organized and managed the development, construction, and capital campaign for the $2.7 million Bresee Community Center which was completed in January 2001. He established a pediatric medical clinic from scratch, negotiating a contract with a community health provider for delivery of services to children 0-18 years of age.

“While Robin Kramer's departure leaves a big void in the Mayor's staffing, Reverend Jeff Carr's appointment to fill that void is an outstanding choice,” said Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton. “His selection clearly demonstrates the Mayor's continued commitment to public safety, and further elevates public safety as an even higher priority.”

Carson, the new Chief Deputy Mayor, brings more than 10 years of government and political experience to City Hall.

“Jay Carson is a proven problem solver and manager,” said Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andy Stern. “He brings years of thoughtful experience in the public and private sector.”

Carson served as the Traveling Press Secretary for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign where, in addition to serving as the main spokesperson for the campaign, he was a senior advisor to then-Senator Clinton providing day-to-day counsel. Carson was also a member of the senior leadership staff for Senator Daschle in the US Senate.

Additionally, Carson worked for former President Clinton and his global foundation. He was a key part of the senior leadership team at the Foundation, which has 1,400 staff and volunteers working in more than 40 countries. During his years at the Clinton Foundation, Jay helped launch some of the foundation’s signature programs including the Clinton Global Initiative, which to-date has inspired more than 1,400 commitments to action valued at $46 billion and improved more than 200 million lives around the world; and the Clinton Climate Initiative, which works with governments and businesses throughout the world on a holistic approach to addressing the growing threat of climate change.

“Jay was a key member of my Senate team when I was Leader,” said former Senator Tom Daschle. “He has a sharp strategic mind, and is a great problem solver. He worked for me during an intense period in the United States Senate including the attacks of September 11th; the anthrax attack on my office; and the unprecedented 2000 presidential election. He always showed poise well beyond his years.”

As part of the announcement, Mayor Villaraigosa outlined the responsibilities of Rev. Carr and Carson. “Jeff will bring his many years of stellar management experience to the position of Chief of Staff and will make sure the City government works for the millions of citizens who count on it. Jay brings his strategic and political acumen to help drive my major policy initiatives.”

Homeland Security & Public Safety, Gang Reduction & Youth Development, Budget & Finance, and Strategic Partnerships will report directly to Rev. Carr and Education, Housing & Economic Development, Transportation, Energy & Environment, and Commercial & Residential Development will report to Carson.

Rev. Carr and Carson will share oversight of Legislative and Intergovernmental Relations and Communications. The new structure will be effective September 19, 2009.

Rev. Carr replaces Robin Kramer, who is leaving after more than 16 years of service to the City of Los Angeles.

“I thank Robin Kramer for her service to the City of Los Angeles,” the Mayor said. “Over these last four years, she has given everything she has to the City of Los Angeles. Robin has been a tremendous asset to me, to our team and to advancing our work, and I will always be deeply appreciative for her partnership and creative leadership.”

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