Jan. 21--Continuing his shake-up of the Los Angeles Fire Department, Mayor Eric Garcetti named a top aide on Tuesday to serve as the agency's new independent assessor.
Sue Stengel, an attorney who has been Garcetti's policy director on policing and crime in the city's Office of Homeland Security, was confirmed by the Board of Fire Commissioners.
Stengel succeeds Steve Miller, the first person to hold the assessor position, which is similar to an inspector general. Miller was removed by the Fire Commission in October.
During his term, Miller issued a series of critical reports of LAFD management on its internal investigations and how the department handles lawsuits. He also had clashes with the union and LAFD management over his access to records.
Garcetti has made the LAFD a priority in trying to improve response times and modernize the department.
Fire Chief Brian Cummings agreed to step down in a mutual agreement with Garcetti. The mayor named James Featherstone, head of the Emergency Management Department, as interim chief until a permanent appointment is made.
Voters created the independent assessor position in 2009 following controversy over the number of legal settlements being made by the LAFD.
Stengel, who also worked for former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, has been charged with following through on Garcetti's agenda.
"My priorities in overhauling the Los Angeles Fire Department are to reduce response times and change its culture," Garcetti said. "Sue Stengel brings a wealth of experience to the position and will play a crucial role in reforming the department."
As an attorney, Stengel has extensive experience in law-enforcement oversight, criminal law and public-safety policy. She worked for the inspector general in the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, as well as for the Los Angeles Police Department.
She began her career as a deputy public defender for Los Angeles County and was the western states counsel for the Anti-Defamation League.
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