Wednesday, October 3, 2001
Delgadillo Changes Leadership in City Attorney’s Office
By ROBERT GREENE, Staff Writer
City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo yesterday announced a major and long-awaited leadership shakeup, bringing in former Assistant U.S. Attorney George Cardona to lead the criminal division and creating new posts to spearhead training, neighborhood safety and school efforts.
Patricia Tubert, counsel to the city’s mammoth airports department, was promoted to head a new Municipal Counsel Division, covering much of what had become the office’s civil division under Delgadillo’s predecessor, James Hahn, who became mayor in July.
Tubert’s ambit will include providing legal advice to city departments in key areas, including housing, environment, land use, employee relations, ethics, police, and the proprietary departments, including the Department of Water and Power.
She becomes one of the most powerful officials at City Hall, with control over the day-to-day legal operations of the city’s internal functions as well as the service-providing departments.
Former criminal division chief Maureen Siegel and former civil division head Pedro Echeverria were moved to the office of Chief Deputy Terree Bowers, where they will head projects to improve overall office performance.
Thomas C. Hokinson, who was Echeverria’s chief lieutenant until tapped by Delgadillo in June to be interim chief deputy, has accepted a position with the DWP, outside the City Attorney’s Office, Delgadillo spokeswoman Mary Maguire said.
Delgadillo’s office has been closely studying a draft report on the office’s management conducted by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. He also continues to be briefed by members of a transition team, some of whom have urged him to move aside longtime members of the office in favor of new blood.
Deputy city attorneys do not fall under civil service rules, but they are protected by a city charter clause that operates much like tenure.
Siegel said she was pleased with her new post.
“I’m moving up,” she said. “Rocky and Terree both acknowledged that with the incredible growth of the City Attorney’s Office there has been no concomitant improvement in the management structure. Change is good.”
Siegel added that she and Echeverria would be attempting to define the needs of the office and its management over the coming weeks.
Cardona, who headed the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, does not begin his new duties until Jan. 1. He is currently a lecturer at UCLA law school. He became best know for his prosecution of former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington on fraud charges.
Theresa Patzakis, former counsel to Mayor Richard Riordan, was named to head Delgadillo’s efforts to oversee reform of the Los Angeles Police Department. Delgadillo recently vowed to keep a close watch on the reform consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice and surpass the agreement’s expectations—-or balk at its requirements—as appropriate.
Named to a new post as special assistant city attorney for land use, real estate and environmental law was former Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher associate Cecelia Estelano. Estalano had served in Mayor Tom Bradley’s administration as environmental policy advisor and later served as senior policy advisor to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Also appointed special assistant city attorney were Katie Buckland, who will oversee Delgadillo’s Safe Neighborhoods Initiatives, and Donna Edmiston, who will head new children, families and schools programs.
Veteran Deputy City Attorney Michael Schwartz was appointed to head the new Training and Professional Development Division. Chuck Goldenberg will head special operations within the Criminal Division, taking in the hate crime and gangs unit.
Delgadillo also has brought over a high-powered group of lawyers and administrators with whom he worked when a deputy mayor for the last eight years under Richard Riordan.
In addition to Patzakis, who led Riordan’s charter reform efforts and will focus on the charter and on redistricting in addition to police reform, Delgadillo already has in place former Riordan communications director Ben Austin. An attorney, Austin will also head communications for Delgadillo.
Riordan budget director Jennifer Roth Kreiger was appointed chief financial and administrative officer for the City Attorney’s Office.
One of Delgadillo’s first appointments was former Riordan Deputy Mayor Ann D’Amato as chief of staff.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company