CITY HALL — Jennifer Phillips, the assistant city manager who oversaw Santa Monica’s planning, library, community and cultural services, economic development and public works departments, resigned on Wednesday after an 18-month tenure at City Hall.

The announcement from City Manager Rod Gould came at 5 p.m. on Wednesday in an e-mail to department heads and members of the City Council that provided little explanation for Phillips’ abrupt departure.

“She plans to continue her involvement in local government, and she wants the community to know that she has enjoyed the opportunity to be part of a team that is making substantial contributions to the city of Santa Monica and the community it serves,” Gould said in the message.

Wednesday was Phillips’ last day on the job. Attempts to reach her on Thursday were not successful.

Phillips was hired in January, 2009 by former City Manager Lamont Ewell. Gould was hired to replace Ewell, who retired, in December.

City Hall declined to say whether Phillips would receive a severance package. Her starting annual salary was $180,000.

City Attorney Marsha Moutrie said there were “no legal claims or issues” related to Phillips’ resignation.

“She was nothing but supportive to us, and we’ll miss that support,” said Barbara Stinchfield, director of Community and Cultural Services.

Gould on Thursday announced he was promoting Deputy City Manager Elaine Polacheck to the assistant city manager post.

Polacheck had been responsible for overseeing the city’s departments of finance, information systems, community maintenance, human resources and the Big Blue Bus.

“Elaine has demonstrated the best in leadership with a comprehensive understanding of operational issues and strong connections with the council and community,” Gould said in a statement.

Polachek has more than 30 years of public administration experience, including stints as Open Space Manager and Director of Community Maintenance for Santa Monica.

From 1984 to 1995 she was Operations Manager for the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corp. and previously held management positions with the Province of Ontario and the city of Scottsdale, Ariz.

“Since my arrival, it has been clear to me that Elaine everyday has brought great skill, insight and collegial working relationships” to City Hall, Gould said.

nickt@www.smdp.com

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