Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today that transportation chief Jaime De La Vega would resign Dec. 1.
Garcetti is reviewing each of his department heads.
He also issued a transportation-focused executive directive this month calling for the creation of "Great Streets" around the city to revitalize communities.
"I thank Jaime de la Vega for his service to Los Angeles. My agenda for the Department of Transportation is to reduce traffic and improve mobility for all Angelenos by increasing our transit options and making our existing ones more effective," Garcetti said.
De La Vega will be replaced by Jon Kirk Mukri, head of the Recreation and Parks Department, until a permanent general manager for the Department of Transportation is found.
Mukri's spot at Recreation and Parks will be filled temporarily by the department's assistant general manager Michael Shull.
The mayor has diverged from some DOT policy in recent months, particularly over smartphone-enabled ridesharing services. Even as Garcetti gave early support to such services, saying they are necessary in a city with inadequate public transportation, DOT officials were labeling them "bandit taxis" and issuing cease-and-desist letters to the ridesharing companies.
Garcetti, who has personally interviewed more than 30 department heads -- including De La Vega -- in recent months, said the "greatest surprise is just doing a deep dive into departments" and finding that "we have too many managers and not enough leaders."
De La Vega issued a statement today saying when he was appointed in 2011, his job was to "stabilize" the department, which "is in much better shape today." He has since instituted a "strong executive leadership team," he said.
Under his leadership, the city adopted a bicycle plan, put in 167 miles of new bike lanes, and began adopting pedestrian-oriented initiatives, De La Vega said. The DOT also took on projects such as upgrading parking meters and helping synchronizing traffic signals, he said.
Earlier this month, city DOT employees turned out in force in the City Council chamber to urge the mayor to replace De La Vega, who has been the department's chief for the past two years.
A union steward said employees had "lost confidence" in him.
Workers complained De La Vega shuffled around top-level employees and contracted out services to a list of 40 outside companies, while leaving many positions unfilled. The moves sapped institutional knowledge and skills in the department, they said.
De La Vega said the recent employee moves were aimed at fine-tuning the organization and preparing for the future.
Four others department heads have announced their retirement this month - - fire Chief Brian Cummings, Harbor Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Housing Department General Manager Mercedes Marquez and Regina Houston-Swain, executive director of the Department on Disability.
Garcetti has said not all of them were let go. Marquez "decided to leave on her own terms," according to the mayor.
Garcetti has so far confirmed that City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana and Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie-Lindsey will keep their jobs.
Former City Clerk June Lagmay, who retired in August, had already decided to leave prior to Garcetti assuming office, according to mayoral spokesman Yusef Robb.
Nearly all department heads answer directly to the mayor. The exceptions are the police chief and the Housing Authority president, but Garcetti still has indirect authority because he appoints the commissioners who hire them and set department policy.