Mayor's chief of staff staying is a good sign 

Mayor Ed Lee's decision this week to keep Steve Kawa, Gavin Newsom's longtime chief of staff, in place points to the need for stability during the upcoming budget battles and should give a sigh of relief to some other department heads targeted by board opponents.

During the raucous hearings over the interim mayor succession, a few of the progressive members of the Board of Supervisors attempted to package a deal whereby their nominees for mayor would also agree to remove Kawa and several department heads that drew their ire during the Newsom years. The deal never materialized after Lee emerged as the consensus candidate.

One in particular, William Sifferman, chief juvenile probation officer, had long been a target because he has followed the mayor's policy not to implement a sanctuary city law that would require San Francisco authorities to turn over undocumented youths to immigration officials only after they've been convicted of felonies.

Kawa's retention signals that Lee is not likely prone to many department personnel changes during the next 10 months. However, he is taking some smaller steps — he's already moved some key aides from his former office into Room 200.

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Ken Garcia

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