Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti has selected Ana Guerrero, a former community organizer who has worked in his council office for the last dozen years, to be his chief of staff.
Guerrero's history with Garcetti dates back to 1999, when she worked alongside his wife (then partner), Amy Wakeland. Guerrero and Wakeland were the only paid staffers of the Progressive Los Angeles Network, which was set up to develop a progressive agenda for the 2001 mayoral election.
“Ana is a loyal public servant and also a friend of Eric and Amy's,” said Yusef Robb, Garcetti's spokesman.
Guerrero's background as a community organizer may offer some hints about Garcetti's approach to governing.
Before meeting Garcetti and Wakeland, Guerrero worked in the 1990s as the lead organizer at United Neighborhoods Organization, which helped naturalize immigrants.
Robb said that her selection as Garcetti's chief of staff “signals that this administration's going to be directly in touch with the people it serves… Our belief is the closer City Hall is to the people it serves, the better it works.”
Garcetti hired Guerrero as a field representative in 2001, and she worked her way up to become his chief of staff in 2008.
“She's incredibly well organized,” said Peter Dreier, the Occidental College professor who established PLAN. “She has Eric's trust, and she's very good at listening… She is Eric's right arm.”
In addition to managing Garcetti's council office, she has worked on budget negotiations with the city's unions. Those negotiations — especially over pension benefits in 2011 — left a bitter taste in the mouths of the city's employee groups, and contributed to their decision to side with Wendy Greuel during the mayor's race.
But a spokesman for SEIU Local 721 said there would be no hard feelings toward Guerrero.
“We think she's a great choice,” said spokesman Ian Thompson. “We have collaborated with her in the past, and we look forward to working with her in her new role.”