The LA City Council unanimously confirmed the Mayor’s appointment of Grayce Liu as the next permanent general manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment on Friday. Grayce Liu was made interim general manager in August of last year after former GM BongHwan Kim left to take a position in San Diego.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa nominated Liu to serve as permanent general manager in December. In his letter to the City Council he wrote, “Her leadership skills are strong. There are fewer complaints than ever…and the general consensus is that outreach was more effective.”
“I’m looking forward to working with the Neighborhood Councils and continuing to find opportunities for neighborhood councils to work within the city council system and the city family as well,” Liu said.
Leonard Shaffer, vice president of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners was on hand at the morning Council session to share his recommendations in support of Liu’s confirmation.
“She’s created a new culture of inclusiveness, which is very important. She leads by example. She’s not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty,” said Shaffer.
What’s Next for EmpowerLA?
Grayce Liu shares some of her strategic priorities for the neighborhood council system.
Enhance Neighborhood Council Support Networks and Alliances
Liu will work with Neighborhood Council peer networks, such as Councils 4 Councils and the Valley Area Neighborhood Council Resource Board to encourage them to expand and multiply. Liu explained that if the groups continue to cross-pollinate, develop trust, and learn from one another, the Neighborhood Council system can increase their sustainability.
Create a More Accessible City Hall
Liu intends to launch a campaign to educate City departments and elected leaders on ways to include Neighborhood Councils in decision-making and also to educate Neighborhood Councils on how to work with the City more effectively.
Simplify the Process of Participation
Liu will also lead a review of the rules and regulations governing Neighborhood Council activities to remove overly complicated or unnecessary items that stand as barriers to participation. “We have to see how we can be creative and think outside the box to make the system easier for neighborhood council members to access,” she explained.
Embrace Innovation and Technology
Liu will embrace innovation and technology to develop more efficient strategies for civic engagement. In recent years, the Department has had to learn to do more with less. EmpowerLA will explore new engagement strategies, such as webinars and live-streaming video for public meetings. EmpowerLA will also look into low-tech solutions, such as crowdsourcing to the volunteer base for help with Department initiatives.