When he arrived in the City Attorney's office in 2009, Carmen Trutanich was alarmed to find some of his predecessor's political appointees still working there. Trutanich fumed that it was "like Barack Obama walking into the White House and finding Karl Rove waiting for him."
Now Trutanich is on the way out and the shoe is on the other foot. Two days after losing his re-election bid by 24 points, Trutanich transferred three of his political appointees -- Jane Usher, Bill Mangan and Nick Danna -- to tenure-track positions.
That means that all three intend to stick around after Mike Feuer takes office on July 1.
Usher is a particularly controversial figure, having been the point person for Trutanich's failed efforts to regulate marijuana dispensaries. Feuer was sharply critical of Trutanich's handling of the marijuana issue during the campaign.
Mangan has a much lower profile. He has been Trutanich's budget adviser, and previously worked for the D.A.'s office and the Sheriff's Department.
Danna is a family friend of Trutanich's who was a fixture on his re-election campaign. Personnel records show that he took a leave from the office during the last three weeks before the election. Danna works as a front-line deputy city attorney, though he was hired as a political appointee amid an office-wide hiring freeze.
Trutanich's spokesman, Sandy Cooney, said the transfers were not comparable to those that took place under Rocky Delgadillo, Trutanich's predecessor, because none of the three political employees has achieved tenure yet. Under the City Charter, Mangan will not have tenure protection for one year. Usher and Danna, both attorneys, will not have tenured status for two years.
"It will be up to the city attorney-elect to decide whether they stay or go," Cooney said. "He may very well decide to retain them -- or not. He has that prerogative."
Feuer's spokesman declined to comment on whether he plans to keep the appointees in his administration.
"We're focused on the transition," said Feuer spokesman Rob Wilcox. "We don't have any announcements to make at this point."