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Jan Perry confirmed as head of new L.A. economic development agency

Jan PerryElectionsLos Angeles City Council

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday confirmed former council member Jan Perry's appointment as head of a new agency charged with spurring business activity and employment in the city.

Mayor Eric Garcetti in July chose Perry, a former mayoral rival, as interim head of his Economic and Workforce Development Department. Last month, he decided to make the appointment permanent.

On a unanimous vote, the council approved Garcetti's selection of Perry, who served as a council member for 12 years before running for mayor. She endorsed Garcetti in the May runoff election. 

The position pays $215,878 a year.

During her council tenure, Perry helped broker several real estate development projects in downtown. Those efforts, including approval of the L.A. Live entertainment complex and hotel projects near the city's Convention Center, won Perry plaudits from the business community.

Perry said she'll use that expertise to head an agency that is taking over for the disbanded Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles. 

Former CRA properties are being transferred to city ownership, along with unallocated tax revenues, Perry said. She said she'll use those assets to leverage grant money for development projects and to attract private investment.

Working with Garcetti, she's also transforming city job training programs to focus on such trades as healthcare, culinary arts, travel tourism and construction. Too many of the unemployed don't have the skills needed to fill positions that are out there, she said.

"We need to prepare them for the jobs that are here now,'' Perry said.

Another goal is to move Business Improvements Districts from the City Clerk's division to her department, Perry said. That could take some time because of budget conflicts, she said.

In March, she'll apply for a $70,000 grant to write a five-year economic development plan. She said she was grateful for Garcetti's nomination and the council's backing.

"I've been ready, and we've already been rocking,'' she said.

[For the record, 3:37 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said Mayor Eric Garcetti in May chose Perry as interim head of his Economic and Workforce Development Department. That happened in July.]

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