Garcetti Appoints Transparency-Denier Llewellyn as Interim CAO

@THE GUSS REPORT-It’s so very “Rich” in both the proper noun and the adjective sort of way. Last week, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed his adviser Rich Llewellyn as interim Chief Administrative Officer after Miguel Santana’s exit, a departure that is referred to in some corners of City Hall as another Garcetti mammal jumping off a sinking ship. 

It’s true that Llewellyn has held a number of Chief-of-Staff-ish positions in the City and has a background with the County government as well. That is valuable experience. But make no mistake; there is nothing about this appointment that will help unlock the gridlock, and rid us of waste and status quo. If anything, Llewellyn is the Super Glue that holds the deep dollar deceptions together.

Llewellyn has, at most junctures of his career, taken measures to suppress transparency that many of us CityWatch contributors and our brethren elsewhere work to crack open for you. 

In my own never-ending quest to shine a light on Garcetti’s deceptions, I had numerous occasions to make public records act requests of the Mayor’s office. 

The most shameful response ever written to me was by Llewellyn on April 27, 2016, and it takes the cake. 

In it, he explained the myriad reasons why I got virtually none of my requested records. One was an unwanted invasion of personal privacy, except that I did not request any private information. Another was that the documents are pre-decisional. I get that. You get that. There is no argument there. But Llewellyn’s third reason was perfectly telling about the corrupt nature of local politics. 

“….records for which the public interest served by withholding the records clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure, and may be withheld pursuant to Government Code 6255.” 

In other words, less disclosure is better than more, because the “public interest” is not, and never will be, defined. 

But as I showed in my articles throughout 2016, public interest in Garcetti World means his own personal and political interest, not ours and that of the city as a whole. 

The most telling comment about Garcetti appointing Llewellyn, who served as Chief Deputy and Chief of Staff respectively, to those paragons of virtue former City Attorney Rocky “Crash” Delgadillo and current Councilmember Paul Koretz, is this assurance from City Council President Herb Wesson: “We are pleased the Mayor is committed to a national search to fill the vacancy of Chief Administrative Officer.” 

Wesson was similarly committed to finding a replacement for Felipe Fuentes (who shockingly quit his City Council position in his first term) but decided that Fuentes’ district was better off with himself (Wesson) running it than it would be by immediately electing someone who actually lived there. 

Llewellyn is the ultimate insider where the game first and foremost involves kicking the can down the road and keeping elected officials employed in their jobs or getting them elected to the next ones. His career of knowing the insider stuff will serve the city’s 18-elected officials well, but will benefit few others. Well-paid insiders rarely do right by the people, and you shouldn’t expect this appointment to be any different.


(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a contributor to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, Huffington Post and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.