LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s chief of staff, the Rev. Jeff Carr, announced today that he is resigning.

Carr said he has nothing lined up yet, but expects to return to the nonprofit world, where he worked for about 20 years before entering politics.

Carr declined to give a date for his departure, but said he would stay until an successor is named and an “orderly transition” can occur.

Carr first joined the mayor’s office to launch and run the Gang Reduction and Youth Development, or GRYD, office in 2007. Villaraigosa selected Carr to be his chief of staff and run his office in 2009.

“For the last two years, Reverend Jeff Carr has served as my chief of staff, honorably leading this administration and moving our agenda forward,” Villaraigosa said. “I look forward to working closely with him through this transition and in the years ahead.”

Carr denied that his departure has anything to do with Villaraigosa’s leadership or any other problems in the mayor’s office.

“That’s nonsense. I’m leaving, because I want to leave,” Carr told City News Service.

He said he had accomplished several of his goals as chief of staff, including the expansion of the GRYD office. He cited the growth of the city’s Summer Night Lights program, which begins its third year tonight and has expanded from 24 to 32 sites this summer.

“This (economic crisis) was arguably the biggest challenge in the city’s history, and we’re well along a path to getting the city’s fiscal house in order,” Carr said. “Four years ago, people looked at Los Angeles as epicenter of the gang problem. Now people around country see some of the stuff in Los Angeles as the cutting edge of policy and now look to us for some of the solutions.”

Carr said when he launched GRYD in 2007, all crime rates accept gang-related crimes were trending downward. In areas surrounding summer night lights sites, gang-related homicides have dropped 57 percent since 2008.

Carr was instrumental in helping Villaraigosa through the selection of Charlie Beck to replace former LAPD Chief Bill Bratton. Carr declined to say if he recommended that Villaraigosa choose Beck, but called him an excellent choice and “one of the most progressive police chiefs in the nation.”

Carr praised the mayor, calling him a passionate leader.

“I always got sense that he cared about people that live on the margins in this city,” he said.