Villaraigosa Staff Shakeup: Now His Chief of Staff, Robin Kramer, Is Bolting
Rumors swirled after the mayor returned from his vacation to Iceland and his paid-for-by-others vaycay to South Africa, that some top city employees were mortified when Villaraigosa insisted on chatting at length about his sightseeing, yet showed little interest in the massive policy problems awaiting him: City Hall is sinking into a desperate budget crunch and pitched debates rage over who is to blame for approving the $1.4 million to $4 million in taxpayer money spent on the Michael Jackson funeral.
Now, the likable and sharp Mother Superior is leaving?
Kramer joins the resigning Chief William Bratton, the retiring (on Monday) Fire Chief Douglas Barry, and the departed City Councilman Jack Weiss, the mayor's key ally in the council chambers who lost his election to become city attorney, all of which has set off intense speculation.
Villaraigosa has been slammed by a series of embarrassments. Some have been huge, as in the case of the lurid rape allegations against Building and Safety General Manager Andrew Adelman, and some have been small, as when he got caught the other day letting the sprinklers at his official Getty House mayoral mansion run illegally on banned nights during drought-observance hours. Villaraigosa made this tiny issue into a story by blaming it on the fact that he does not have "staff" with him at night and is a heavy sleeper. (Doesn't have staff with him at night?)
Rick Orlov reported that political neophyte Reverend Jeff Carr would replace Kramer. That should be interesting. Carr, the city's new anti-gang czar, has just barely begun the mayor's GRYD anti-gang program. GRYD is so unproven and experimental that nobody knows if it is helping or just blowing $24 million (yes, we'll be keeping track).
The Chief of Staff is an executive whose job is to keep the mayor focused on the big picture issues facing L.A. while shepherding a large staff to follow through on the chosen priorities. Can the inexperienced Carr handle that? Villaraigosa is also naming a new, 30-ish Chief Deputy Mayor, Jay Carson, former communications director for Hillary Clinton's presidential bid.