Recently the City invited members of the public to submit letters suggesting priorities that the committee to appoint a new City Manager should observe in making its selection.

I offer four that may help the City in responding to concerns about fiscal management broached by David Whatley Zepeda in a recent column in the Daily Press:

1. The successful candidate should have sufficient wit and savvy to head off financial misadventures when proposed by City planners and related entities before they occur. I have in mind as recent examples spending for poorly designed bus stops by Big Blue Bus, and the Planning department’s dubious decision to invest City funds in a for-profit start up firm contracted to introduce a bike rental operation in Santa Monica. For-profit companies without public subsidies have already successfully introduced bike rental operations in a number of American cities. Mistakes of this sort cost the City money and its officials’ credibility.

2. The successful candidate should recognize intuitively the need for the City to bend the curve of its unusually high staffing needs and the cost of related compensation packages, especially for those in positions with salaries of 150 k or more per annum.

3. He or she should also recognize the need to curb what a candidate for City Council in the most recent election cycle referred to as “the Gold Rush mentality” currently driving realty investment in Santa Monica.

4. It follows from the above that the successful candidate should recognize that his/her compensation package needs to be lower than that enjoyed by former City Manager, Rod Gould, over the course of his five-year term.

Richard Dellamora
Santa Monica

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