Greg Nelson, Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) general manager, has announced that he will retire from the position at the end of April.

Nelson announced his retirement at a city Board of Neighborhood Commissioners meeting Tuesday, March 21st.

He was appointed to steer the city’s Neighborhood Council system by former Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn in September 2001.

“I am thankful for every opportunity that I have been given to serve my city,” Nelson said. “It is time to continue promoting participation in government and grass-roots democracy in new ways.”

In explaining why he wanted to be the general manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, Nelson said, “I’ve always believed that a person’s value is measured by what they give back to society.”

Nelson began working for former City Councilman Joel Wachs in 1971 and eventually became his chief of staff.

Nelson grew up in North Hollywood. He attended Riverside Drive Elementary School, Walter Reed and Robert A. Millikan Junior High Schools, Grant High School, Valley College, and San Fernando Valley State College (renamed Cal State Northridge). He earned a B.A. by specializing in urban affairs.

From 1967 to 1970, he served in the U.S. Army, including one year in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division. He was awarded the Bronze Star, and completed his military duty as a staff sergeant.

While working for Councilman Wachs, Nelson composed City Charter amendments that created the new Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and the citywide system of Neighborhood Councils.

Nelson served as the only city council aide on the Ad Hoc Committee on the Energy Crisis, comprised of leaders from business, labor, and government, that met during the OPEC oil embargo to develop an emergency energy conservation plan.

Shortly thereafter, Nelson served again as the only city council aide on the Ad Hoc Committee on Water Conservation.