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Villaraigosa's staff installs deputy to manage mayor's 'long-term message'

September 15, 2010 |  2:06 pm

Villaraigosa Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday named Janelle Erickson, currently deputy mayor for communications, as his deputy chief of staff, the latest move in an ongoing reshuffling of his administration during its second term.

The promotion of Erickson comes almost a week after Jay Carson, chief deputy mayor and a former press aide to the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, announced that he was stepping down from his post as of Sept. 30.

Erickson, 40, a native of Central California who has been on Villaraigosa’s staff for more than five years, will inherit much of Carson’s portfolio, managing education, transportation and environmental issues, as well as overseeing the mayor’s schedule.

In a statement, Villaraigosa called Erickson “an innovative communicator” with “keen political acumen,” adding: “She is a proven leader who will thrive as deputy chief of staff.”

Villaraigosa, who has been criticized by some for falling short of his ambitious policy goals, is keen to have concrete accomplishments he can point to before being termed out of office in June 2013. Among Erickson’s tasks, the mayor’s office said, is to serve as “manager of the mayor’s long-term message.”

Erickson, who currently earns about $150,000 annually, is a graduate of UCLA who formerly served as a staffer for ex-City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, now the city controller.

In other moves, the mayor named Deputy Mayor Larry Frank, a longtime associate of Villaraigosa, to his executive team. Other team members include Erickson, Chief of Staff Jeff Carr, Deputy Chief of Staff Matt Szabo, Deputy Mayor Celine Cordero and Chief Counsel Brian Currey.

Szabo, a former mayoral spokesman who also worked on the staff of ex-councilwoman Greuel, will serve as interim deputy mayor for communications. Szabo’s  expanded portfolio, the mayor’s office said, would include responsibility for budget and finance, labor relations, legislative and inter-governmental affairs, and neighborhood and community services.

In another move, the mayor’s office said, Romel Pascual, a top environmental adviser, has been named permanent deputy mayor for the environment.

-- Patrick McDonnell at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Credit: Los Angeles Times