Austin Beutner was once the lowest-paid deputy mayor in the Antonio Villaraigosa administration at City Hall — a dollar a year, working on economic development. Now the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, Beutner has tapped Suzy Jack, named in 2012 as Villaraigosa's youngest deputy mayor at age 28 — the deputy for legislative affairs — to come across the street as his Vice President of Projects at the Times. Jack was an intern in Villaraigosa's office, then his liaison to the LGBT community, before the promotion to deputy mayor. She is now a deputy controller for City Controller Ron Galperin. Jack's announcement email to friends dropped into the LA Observed in-box tonight. A former colleague on Team Villaraigosa also called her "the most talented person I have ever had the pleasure working with."
From: Suzy Jack
Date: December 1, 2014, 9:43:02 PM PST
Subject: Crossing the Street…
Friends and colleagues,
Beginning next week, I will be crossing the street and starting a new adventure at the LA Times as Vice President of Projects.
I wish I was able to tell each of you in-person, but thankfully the rumor mill is far more efficient than I ever could be, and I hope you'll forgive me if I wasn't able to get to you first.
As many of you know, I have basically grown up in City Hall, so I have to write a long email, forgive me in advance.
In college, I had been planning to become a fierce advocate of some sort, but before I officially graduated from USC, I instead became an intern in the Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa -- a job I was persuaded to take as a challenge to see if my criticisms of government held any water.
While I was right in some respects, I was shocked to learn that I didn't know it all at the age of 22, and I was immediately inspired and compelled to stay in the City by...well...YOU - the many insanely hard working people (and those who work with the City) who were and are truly dedicated to making the world and Los Angeles a better place, and often under the most difficult of circumstances.
I learned through baptism by fire...after fire...and I just want to thank each of you - whether you were with me in the fire, knew when to throw me into it, or helped me through it in some small or large way...thank you. And thank you for the work you do everyday in the service of others.
A very special thanks to my former boss Mayor Villaraigosa for inspiring me, believing in me, and for making big dreams into realities for LA, and to all my colleagues for our collective work in the trenches that created the memories I will cherish always...
...to Council President Wesson, the City Council and staff, former and current, who welcomed me into chambers, rarely threw me out, and have shown me what it takes to be "in the arena" through their tireless, thankless hard work...
...to Mayor Garcetti who has had the courage to take us back-to-basics and into a new day for collaboration, and to his staff who haven't rested to make it happen...
...to the General Managers and department staff across the City for your patience, resilience and commitment to the long haul..
...and finally to Controller Ron Galperin and Controller's staff, who have shown me that innovation, independence, transparency and partnership can and must thrive and coexist, and that contrary to popular belief, the Controller's Office is super fun!
I plan to return to public service - but I saw the opportunity to (hopefully) contribute at a time when the future of the 4th Estate has reached a critical juncture and civic engagement in LA and across the nation continues to languish.
I'm not really much farther away than I am now at City Hall East...so please keep in touch. I will forward my new contact information next week, but you can always reach me at email@example.com.
With warmth and gratitude,
Here's a 2012 piece on Jack in her hometown newspaper in Indiana, Pennsylvania.
Photo of Suzy Jack with former Villaraigosa deputy Matt Szabo, by Karen Ocamb