Mayor shifts some senior duties and titles *

With Jay Carson leaving at the end of the month, Mayor Villaraigosa is moving the chess pieces again. Janelle Erickson, one of the mayor's original press deputies, moves to Deputy Chief of Staff with the charge to manage the mayor's offices of education, environment, scheduling, and transportation. "Erickson will act as policy implementer, strategist and manager of the Mayor’s long-term message," says the release. Current Deputy Chief of Staff Matt Szabo will serve as Interim Deputy Mayor for Communications: "additionally, he will have an expanded portfolio that includes budget and finance, labor relations, legislative and intergovernmental affairs, and neighborhood and community services." Villaraigosa also added Deputy Mayor Larry Frank to his "Executive Team of advisors," which includes Erickson, Szabo, Chief of Staff Jeff Carr, Deputy Mayor Celine Cordero and Chief Counsel Brian Currey.

Also: A new deputy mayor for the environment. Release is after the jump.


Long-time environmental justice advocate will implement Villaraigosa’s ambitious environmental agenda

LOS ANGELES – Mayor Villaraigosa announced today that he has named Romel Pascual Deputy Mayor for Environment.

“Romel has been a key advisor and strong voice for our green agenda,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “His previous experience working at the grassroots, state, and federal levels has been invaluable as we attempt to combat climate change in the City of Los Angeles. Romel has been and will continue to be a significant contributor on my overall plan to make Los Angeles a sustainable, clean and green city.”

As Deputy Mayor, Pascual will be responsible for the implementation of Mayor Villaraigosa’s environmental agenda, and oversight of the Board of Public Works and the Department of Recreation and Parks.

Pascual has been a member of the Villaraigosa Administration for five years. Prior to this, he served as the Regional Coordinator (Region 9) for Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Program and as an Assistant Secretary for Environmental Justice for the State of California.

A full biography is below.

Biography – Romel Pascual

Romel Pascual serves as the Deputy Mayor of Environment for the City of Los Angeles. In this role, he is responsible for developing and implementing Mayor Villaraigosa’s environmental agenda. He is a senior advisor on all environmental priorities for Mayor Villaraigosa, including climate change, environmental justice, green economy, energy efficiency, water conservation, and sustainability.

Romel represents the City of Los Angeles on the steering committee for the C40 Large Cities Climate Group. He also served as an advisor to the Mayor and City on key environmental priorities and co-authored the City’s GreenLA Climate Change Action Plan released in 2006 to achieve a 35% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Prior to joining the Villaraigosa Administration, Romel served as California’s first Assistant Secretary for Environmental Justice from 2000-2004, where he led the efforts to develop the State of California’s inaugural environmental justice program – spearheading the State Advisory Committee on Environmental Justice and establishing the Environmental Justice Community Grant Program.

Romel previously served as the Regional Coordinator (Region 9) of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Program where he led the efforts to advance the agency’s environmental justice agenda.

Romel’s involvement with environmental issues began in community organizations and grassroots leadership. He worked with the Urban Habitat Program, a non-profit organization based in San Francisco whose focus is to build multicultural urban environmental leadership. He was the Program Coordinator of the Brownfields Leadership and Community Revitalization Project. He also worked with the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) where he conducted research on the impacts of environmental pollution on communities.

He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Masters of City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

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