the la city council
Photo by John Schreiber.

A Los Angeles City Council committee is set to consider the appointment of Rich Llewellyn as the permanent city administrative officer Monday, a key position that steers the city’s day-to-day financial management and leads negotiations with employee labor groups.

Llewellyn has held the job on an interim basis for over a year since last February. The CAO is appointed by the mayor and must be confirmed by the City Council but will first be considered by the Budget and Finance Committee.

According to Garcetti’s office, the appointment of Llewellyn followed a national search for a permanent successor to Miguel Santana, who stepped down in 2017 after more than seven years as CAO, but Councilman David Ryu has questioned the veracity of that statement and said he has seen no evidence a national search was conducted.

With the CAO role being a key position that many see as an important independent voice on financial matters, Garcetti has opened himself up to some criticism by appointing Llewellyn, who is a close longtime ally and associate of the mayor.

“If such a search has been conducted, the public and City Council should be informed of the number of resumes received, outreach conducted and the review process. The residents of Los Angeles must be assured that every effort was taken to identify a pragmatic, independent and problem-solving CAO,” Ryu said in a letter to Garcetti in January.

Garcetti’s press secretary, Alex Comisar, told City News Service in January that Garcetti has been in contact with the council regarding the search.

Lewellyn is a longtime City Hall insider who previously served as chief of staff to Councilman Paul Koretz; chief of staff to Garcetti; special counsel to former District Attorney Gil Garcetti, the mayor’s father; chief deputy city attorney under Rocky Delgadillo; and senior deputy to the late Los Angeles County Supervisor Ed Edelman.

“Rich is an excellent choice to be our city’s CAO,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian, chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, when his appointment was announced. “It has been a true pleasure to work with both Rich and Matt Szabo over the past few years as we successfully steered Los Angeles through the most challenging budget times in the city’s history. While we’ve accomplished much together, many challenges lie ahead. I’m confident that Rich will do a terrific job serving the people of Los Angeles and I look forward to working closely with him to continue our financial progress.”

—City News Service

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