Garcetti job picks reflect stable transition

santana.jpgGood to hear that Mayor Garcetti is keeping Miguel Santana as the city's top budget officer - as well as Gina Marie Lindsey as head of Los Angeles World Airports. Santana has been able to work around massive deficits - largely the result of the recession and the ongoing pension shortfall - while Lindsey has re-energized the airport with a $4.1-billion modernization plan, led by the makeover of the Tom Bradley terminal. Not all of L.A.'s administrators are staying on - ports head Geraldine Knatz is leaving at the end of the year and Fire Chief Brian Cummings is also out. New bosses, in politics or business, are often conflicted about who to keep. The obvious reflex is to select your own people, but many of these jobs require an institutional knowledge that can take months or even years to pick up. Lindsey, who had been managing director for the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, lacked any experience in L.A. city politics, and it took a while for her to deal with an often-intrusive City Council. Now she and the mayor must figure out whether to relinquish Ontario International Airport - and if so at what price. Santana has had to straddle the interests of business and labor in handling changes to the city's health and retirement packages. A rebounding economy is easing some of the pressure, though the city continues to face chronic deficits. From the Daily News:

Santana, who has wide support among the City Council, was pleased Garcetti asked him to stay on, as he sent a memo to his staff outlining the work ahead of them. Chief among these is labor negotiations, in which there has been growing pressure from the unions to seek more money and benefits after years of givebacks to the city. However, the talks will be complicated by the recent agreement with Department of Water and Power workers, who agreed to no raises for the next three years. Other issues that lie ahead include the 2014-15 budget, the current year's budget, reviews on consolidating Building and Safety with Planning, deployment of the fire department and the formation of a New Economic Development Model for the city.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
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