SANTA MONICA—Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole resigned from his position amidst a $300 million budget gap over the next two plus years due to the Coronavirus impacting business. The news was announced in a press release via on Saturday, April 18.
Cole resigned from his position several days after offering to lower his own salary to deal with a budget crisis facing Santa Monica.
Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown and the Santa Monica City Council held a special meeting to appoint an interim city manager to replace Rick Cole, who has held the post since 2015 and draws an annual salary of $343,000.
“In a sudden local challenge embedded in an ongoing global pandemic, Santa Monica is fortunate indeed to have as Interim City Manager someone as qualified and prepared to lead as Lane Dilg,” said Mayor Kevin McKeown. “Councilmembers, City staff, and community members who have worked with Lane during her time as City Attorney know her to be knowledgeable, wise, committed, trustworthy, and motivated by deep heartfelt love for this City where she lives with her family. Lane has already had a leadership role in Santa Monica’s Emergency Operations Center, implementing public health directives, keeping essential services functioning throughout the City, and helping plan for the recovery from this pandemic and the economic crisis it has triggered. On behalf of the Council, I thank her deeply for her willingness to take on even more of the difficult work ahead of us, and call on everyone in our Santa Monica community to welcome Lane Dilg to a job that might be impossible for someone not so outstandingly qualified and prepared.”
His replacement, is City Attorney Lane Dilg, who was appointed unanimously and will begin her role as City Manager on Monday April 20.
As Interim City Manager, Dilg is responsible for the day-to-day administration for the city, with a residential population of approximately 92,000, implementation of City Council ordinances and policies, oversight of 14 departments, and the city’s operational budget.
Dilg will also serve as Director of Emergency Services throughout the local emergency as the City responds to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.
“I appreciate the Council’s faith in me,” said Interim City Manager Lane Dilg. “We have an extraordinarily challenging road ahead. COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we work, the needs of the people we serve, and has left a devastating hole in the City budget. But our City team is strong, and we will get through this crisis with tenacity and heart. Santa Monica has a bright future. I look forward to working with the City Council to bring that future in as quickly as we possibly can.”
More than 2,800 people signed a petition calling for Cole and Chief Operating Officer Katie Lichtig to be fired, citing the proposed elimination of the Office of Sustainability and the Environment, closure of the Santa Monica Swim Center and elimination or reduction of several youth programs.
In addition, City Council disclosed on Tuesday, April 14 they approved a plan to offer city staff $10,000 or $15,000 to voluntarily leave their jobs, and is now scheduled to discuss workforce and service reductions on May 5.
Written By Brenda De La Cruz and Donald Roberts