Mitch O’Farrell, a senior advisor working for Councilman Eric Garcetti, will leave his job next month as he runs in next year’s election to succeed his boss as Council District 13 representative. “When Eric and I first discussed this in November, he made it clear that it wouldn’t be possible for me to remain on his staff during a campaign for the office,” said O’Farrell, who has worked for Garcetti for nearly 10 years. “I respect Eric’s decision because I respect Eric.” Garcetti, whose district includes Echo Park and Silver Lake as well as Atwater Village and Glassell Park, is termed out of office and is running for mayor.
The decision on whether City Council staffers must resign if they run for elected office apparently varies by council district. For example, Jose A. Gardea, Chief of Staff to Councilman Ed Reyes, also wants to replace his boss, who is also termed out of office, in next year’s Council District 1 election. But, at least for now, Gardea has no plans to leave his job. “My priority will continue to be how to best serve the residents of the First District,” Gardea said in a statement. “Once the campaign begins in earnest I will base my decision on what is in the best interest of our constituents and this council office.”
Last year, Mitchell Englander, formerly Chief of Staff for San Fernando Valley Councilman Greig Smith, took a leave of absence when he ran a successful campaign to replace Smith as representative of Council District 12.
Julie Wong, spokeswoman for Garcetti, said that O’Farrell decided to run for office “with the understanding that he would need to resign from his position with our staff in order to avoid any potential conflicts of interest between his actions as a candidate and as a council staff member.”
Garcetti, in preparation for his bid for mayor, has stepped down as President of the City Council but has no intention of leaving his job as councilman, Wong said.
O’Farrell, a a former restaurant manager and actor and dancer, joined Garcetti’s staff in August 2002. The Glassell Park resident has worked his way up from a field deputy to district director and currently serves as senior advisor on special projects.