SANTA MONICA—Santa Monica City Attorney Marsha Moutrie announced on Friday, September 23, that she would retire at the end of the year. Moutrie was appointed to City Attorney in December 1993. As city attorney, she was responsible for advising the city county, other city officers and represent the city and its employees in civil lawsuits.
“Santa Monica is an incredible place and my 22 action-packed years as city attorney have flown by. My husband has been retired for three years and on Jan. 3, I’ll turn 70,” Moutrie said. “We want to see more of the world, together, while we can still explore on foot.”
Another reason for Moutrie’s retirement is that her mother is bedridden and she wants to spend time with her in her remaining days.
“Of course, it’s hard to part,” she said. “My clients, co-workers and this wonderfully engaged community will always have a special place in my heart.”
Moutrie’s job included approving contracts, drafting laws and resolutions, prosecuting misdemeanors and enforcing local laws. Both deputy attorneys and support staff are appointed by her.
“For over two decades, our City has been extremely fortunate to have Marsha leading our legal work. The combination of her deep knowledge of the law, commitment to our complex community and her savvy leadership, has helped shape the vibrant, innovative and diverse city we have today. We have all benefitted from her absolute dedication to the public process. She will be missed,” said Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez.
During Moutrie’s tenure as city attorney, the office accomplished going against major oil companies who polluted city wells with MTBE and ended up recovering $275 million from all major oil companies. Also recovered $108 million for PCP/TCE contamination of groundwater by Boeing and Gillette/Proctor and Gamble. Her office was the only one in the country to challenge deceptive practices in the bullion/gold sales industry and recovered $10 million for victims.
“Losing Marsha Moutrie, even into her well-earned retirement, which we knew was inevitable, is a challenging transition for our City,” said Santa Monica Councilman Kevin McKeown said. “I’m grateful we enjoyed her excellent leadership for so many years, and grateful she leaves us such a highly skilled and motivated staff of attorneys to continue handling our legal workload while we seek a replacement.”
The work done at the office is handled by its 42 members which comprised of 24 full-time attorneys and 18 support staffers. They deal with thousands of criminal cases and hundreds of consumer complaints, tenants and code enforcement personnel. They also help defend the city and it’s workers in an average of 200 civil matters in the state and federal trial and appellate courts.
“I am proud of the work the office has done over the years to promote community welfare by effectuating Council’s laws and policies, including those relating to housing, tenants’ rights, homelessness, consumer protection, and land use, among others,” said Moutrie. “Like the City as a whole, the office takes on big challenges and meets them. We litigated to protect the City’s water resources and recovered about $380 million from the major oil companies and other polluters. We did the legal work to defeat a state take back of about $200 million in redevelopment funds, preserving it for meeting local needs. We drafted and defended laws that promote affordable housing and ensure shared use of our treasured public space, and those laws were adopted as models by other cities. These are just a few examples of how this team has earned its state-wide reputation of outstanding legal work.”
Canyon News was unable to contact Moutrie for more information. The City Council is expected to begin its search for a new city attorney next week.