LOS ANGELES - Mayor Karen Bass today announced additional senior staff members who will help her lead her agenda to move Los Angeles in a new direction by urgently housing people and increasing safety and affordability in every neighborhood. Previously announced members of the senior leadership team include Chris Thompson, Chief of Staff, and Mercedes Marquez, Chief of Housing and Homelessness Solutions.
“The people of Los Angeles deserve a team that’s as ethical as they are effective, and that’s what I am building,” said Mayor Bass. “We are leading L.A. forward with respect for our fellow public servants, respect for public service and respect for the trust that the people have placed in us.”
Jenny Punsalan Delwood, Deputy Chief of Staff – After helping to lead the transition, Jenny Delwood will now help Mayor Bass staff her office and ensure senior leadership is working in a coordinated way to execute the Mayor’s vision for our city. She will also oversee the Mayor's constituent services, public engagement, legislative and intergovernmental strategy, international affairs, budget and innovation team, operations, and scheduling. Delwood most recently served as Campaign Manager for Karen Bass for Mayor. Prior to that, she served as the Executive Vice President at Liberty Hill Foundation and oversaw programs, grantmaking, strategic planning. She also served as Chief Deputy for the Administration on Children, Youth and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this capacity, she led federal policy initiatives, grant awards, and research related to child welfare, runaway and homeless youth, adolescent pregnancy and domestic violence prevention. Previously, Delwood served as Legislative Director to Congresswoman Karen Bass and as District Director to then Speaker of the California Assembly Karen Bass. A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, Delwood earned a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is also a proud alumna of the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs and a foster mom. She lives in the San Fernando Valley with her wife.
Veronica Gutierrez, Interim Deputy Chief of Staff – Veronica Gutierrez will work to assess staffing, scope of work, and policy development in the Mayor’s office and will oversee public safety, economic development, economic opportunity, and sustainability, which includes staff working with the Police, Fire, and Building and Safety Departments, as well as Community Redevelopment, City Planning, Public Works, and Airports. Gutierrez is serving in an interim capacity to help set up the office for the first few months, and then plans to return to retirement. She has extensive experience in city service, having served in various roles on the staff of former Councilmembers Gloria Molina and Jackie Goldberg. She has also held vice president positions in corporate communications and public affairs departments in the private sector. Gutierrez is also a former civil rights attorney, non-profit leader, and author. She earned her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. She lives in northeast Los Angeles with her wife Laura Genao.
David Michaelson, Counsel to the Mayor – After spending the last 17 years working for the people of Los Angeles as Chief Assistant City Attorney, David Michaelson will serve as Counsel for Mayor Bass starting January 1. As Chief Assistant City Attorney, Michaelson led the Municipal Law Branch, serving all City elected officials and 40 City departments, providing advice as well as transactional and litigation services related to governance, election, ethics, police and fire, environmental, land use, real property, labor, public finance, procurement, wage enforcement, intellectual property, transportation, housing, development, cannabis, airport, and pension matters. Michaelson earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati and graduated from the USC Gould School of Law.
Zach Seidl, Communications Director and Senior Advisor, Acting Deputy Mayor of Communications – Zach Seidl will serve as Mayor Bass’s Director of Communications and Senior Advisor and function as a chief spokesperson. He is currently serving as Acting Deputy Mayor of Communications until that position is filled. Seidl has worked for Mayor Bass for the past 7 years, most recently serving as Communications Director and Senior Advisor in her Congressional office and also working on her mayoral campaign. Seidl completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Joey Freeman, Director of Policy and Budget Initiatives – Most recently serving as Senior Advisor and Policy Director on the Karen Bass for Mayor campaign, Joey Freeman will now ensure that the Mayor’s priorities are reflected in the city budget and across city government. Previously, Freeman served as the Chief Deputy Legislative Affairs Secretary for Gov. Gavin Newsom, where he served as senior staff to the Governor and helped lead negotiations with the State Legislature on key issues like reopening public schools in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, mandating California’s first all-mail state election and passing significant resources to tackle the homelessness crisis. He also served as Governor Newsom’s liaison to the Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities. Prior to that role, Freeman was Policy Director for the Newsom for Governor campaign and a Chief Policy Consultant for then-Lieutenant Gov. Newsom. Freeman has also worked for the Special Olympics World Summer Games and on local, state and federal campaigns. He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs.