Montana Ave

Jewelry Store Robbery Suspect Identified

The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) is seeking the public’s assistance in locating the suspect believed to be involved in the armed jewelry store robbery that took place earlier this week at Curated Los Angeles, 1604 Montana Avenue.

The suspect is identified as Robert Art Abalov, a 32 year- old male. Abalov is approximately 5’7” tall, 145 lbs., brown short hair and brown eyes. Abalov is a Los Angeles area resident; however, his current whereabouts are unknown.

Following a preliminary investigation and evidence collected at the crime scene, SMPD Detectives have identified Abalov as the primary suspect involved in the robbery. Abalov should be considered dangerous. Do not attempt to contact him. If seen, please call 9-1-1 or call your local law enforcement agency immediately.

Anyone with information related to this case is encouraged to call the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8491.

Submitted by Lieutenant Saul Rodriguez



March Events from the Santa Monica Conservancy


The History of Carnegie Libraries

Saturday, March 10, from 3 – 4 p.m.

Ocean Park Library

2612 Main Street

In honor of the Ocean Park Library’s 100th birthday this year, the Santa Monica Conservancy is co-hosting a talk on the history of Carnegie libraries by Ken Breisch, Conservancy board member emeritus and USC professor. As the author of the panoramic and visually stunning American Libraries 1730-1950, Breisch will trace the development of Carnegie libraries in the United States and how the Ocean Park branch was funded and built. This event is free but seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.



Julia Morgan Legacy Day

Sunday, March 11, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Annenberg Community Beach House

415 Pacific Coast Highway


Join the Conservancy in a special commemoration of Julia Morgan, California’s first licensed female architect. She designed more than 700 projects, including the Marion Davies’ Guest House and pool at the Annenberg Community Beach House as well as Hearst Castle. Morgan was posthumously awarded the AIA’s highest honor, a Gold Medal, and her brilliant and pioneering work continues to gain public recognition.

Tour the Guest House and learn more about Julia Morgan from Karen McNeill, Ph.D. in her talk, “Women Who Build: Julia Morgan & Women’s Institutions.” Conservancy docents will provide insights into Morgan’s life and work. The event is free and reservations are requested. RSVP online or call (310) 458-4904.



Audit Subcommittee Discusses Independent Draft Compensation Study

At its meeting last night, February 28, the City of Santa Monica Audit Subcommittee met to review the draft staffing and compensation study from the firm Moss Adams.

The study, which began in June 2017, reviews policies and practices related to City employee compensation and staffing levels. The report provides observations and recommendations organized in the following categories: Wage and benefits packages, drivers of compensation and public safety overtime.

The Audit Subcommittee reviewed the report and its twelve recommendations:

  1. Enhance awareness and understanding of personnel costs by making this information readily accessible to the general public and provide explanations of each component of total compensation.
  2. Develop and implement a formal compensation philosophy, including, but not limited to, compensation and benefits components, levels, and market competitiveness, to guide labor negotiations and set employee expectations with respect to compensation.
  3. Evolve the in-house position-level compensation market study methodology to include medians and percentiles in accordance with best practices, accounting for labor relation requirements.
  4. Continue to take steps whenever possible to mitigate the financial threat that pension liability places on the City.
  5. Evaluate options to stabilize per-employee health care costs.
  6. Consider staggering labor contracts and expanding the duration of all contracts to multiple years to reduce the burden of negotiations on the City.
  7. Develop financial and operational strategies to prepare for possible future recessions, since the City may not be able to absorb a future recession as easily.
  8. Explore strategies for mitigating personnel costs, such as hiring personnel at lower steps, and leveraging training programs to equip personnel to take on greater responsibility earlier in their career.
  9. Implement an evaluation framework to assess the life cycle costs of proposed new programs and services, and evaluate outsourcing options, where applicable.
  10. Continue initiatives already underway to develop a strategic plan, comprehensive performance indicators, and leverage the City’s data for decision-making.
  11. Continue to evaluate police staffing levels and use of overtime.
  12. Conduct a staffing study to determine if additional firefighters are warranted to reduce the frequency of mandatory overtime.

The conversation focused on the need to create a plan to implement these recommendations as well as a strategy to curtail the City’s unfunded CalPERS pension liability.

“The compensation study provides concrete recommendations that will help guide staffing and compensation decisions in the future to protect Santa Monica’s fiscal health,” said Councilmember and Audit Subcommittee Chair Sue Himmelrich. “The members of the advisory subcommittee supported the recommendations and emphasized the importance of protecting line level staff and tackling our CalPERS liability.”

The report will be finalized and presented to the Audit Subcommittee at its next meeting on April 17, 2018. The Audit Subcommittee expects to vote on whether to present the report to the City Council in May, at which time Council could provide direction to staff to implement the recommendations.

The report was informed by interviews with staff, labor unions and eleven peer cities, including data volunteered by Anaheim, Beverly Hills, Torrance and Pasadena, among others. Data was gathered from the peer cities and from the State Controller’s Office Government Compensation in California, and private sector cash compensation data was sourced from Economic Research Institute. This report includes observations and recommendations based on comprehensive data analysis. A previous draft provided to the Audit Subcommittee included early data that has now been refined and in some cases corrected. This has resulted in revisions to the report when compared to the November draft, such as police response times and staff workloads.

While the report indicates that every effort was made to get comparable data, not all information can be compared equally. Factors that contribute to this include differences in operating budgets, performance measurements, community priorities, level of outsourcing, geography, and departmental organization.

For more information about the Audit Subcommittee, meeting details and to view the report, visit

Submitted by Constance Farrell, Santa Monica Public Information Officer

Print Friendly