Back in the game
Garcetti appoints former Pasadena Mayor Rick Cole to serve as LA deputy mayor
By André Coleman 07/18/2013
Newly elected Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has appointed former Pasadena Mayor and Pasadena Weekly co-founder Rick Cole to serve as LA deputy mayor.
In addition to running the mayor’s budget team, Cole’s $172,000-per-year job makes him responsible for the Office of Finance, Performance Management Unit and the Information Technology Agency. Cole will also oversee the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System and Los Angeles Fire and Police pensions.
Cole, who recently left his position as Ventura city manager after eight years and still lives in that city, said he plans to soon move to Los Angeles with his wife and three teenage children. Cole will officially start next week.
“I got a call from a member of Garcetti’s transitioning team to talk about the approach they were taking,” Cole told the Weekly. “I was happy they wanted to pick my brain. As we were talking through the approach, I said I thought a budget innovation position was a great job, and he said, ‘That’s the exact job we have in mind for you.’”
Cole met with Garcetti a week later. The following day, Garcetti called him and offered him the job.
“It’s a very different challenge, but it is one that I welcome because I will be part of a great team,” Cole said. “As a city manager, that is your challenge, to build a great team. There is no such thing as one-person successes in public administration.”
Cole most recently served as the interim chief operating officer to the Local Government Commission, a nonprofit agency based in Sacramento. Prior to Ventura, Cole served as manager of Azusa.
Cole was elected to the Pasadena City Council in 1983 and spent 12 years on the council, including two years as mayor. He was instrumental in the planning stages of the trendy Old Pasadena shopping and dining district. In 1991, the outspoken Cole made headlines when he and local civil rights activists complained about the lack of minorities on the Tournament of Roses governing board.
After becoming mayor, Cole briefly displayed a T-shirt in the 1994 Rose Parade with the words “Tournament of Racism.” Cole later apologized for the incident.