Meet the new boss.
City Council announced its unanimous decision to appoint Rick Cole, current Los Angeles deputy mayor for budget and innovation, to City Hall’s top job, Wednesday night.
Cole has served previously as the city manager for Ventura and Azusa. He manned the helm of Ventura for more than eight years, from 2004 to 2012 and led Azusa for nearly six years, from 1998 to 2004.
From 1983 to 1995 he served as a Pasadena City Council member and as mayor. Cole has held his current position in Los Angeles for nearly two years.
Council was set to discuss the specifics of Cole’s contract on Thursday night, after this edition of the paper went to print.
“I’ve been through this process now four times, hiring a city manager,” Mayor Kevin McKeown said after announcing the appointment, “and when a City Council quickly and unanimously settles on a candidate as being the right person just all together, almost organically, it’s a very exciting moment. We had a number of candidates. Many of them impressed me. Rick moved me.”
City Manager Rod Gould announced last summer that he’d retire from the top position at the end of January. Assistant City Manager Elaine Polachek was appointed to temporarily take over the post while council searched, with the help of a consulting group, for a new boss.
McKeown thanked Polachek for her service, noting that she told council early on that she wasn’t interested in the permanent city manager position. Polachek made $27,452 per month during her temporary role as city manager. It’s not yet been announced what Cole will be paid.
In local governments like Santa Monica, City Council members hire (or fire) the people in charge of running City Hall and give broad directions but they don’t oversee day-to-day activities — that job starts with the city manager.
All seven councilmembers expressed effusive support for Cole.
“When I think of Rick, and I’ve known him for a number of years, the word ‘integrity’ comes to mind,” said Councilmember Gleam Davis. “He is one of the people who I think embodies that concept and so we are lucky to have him and I look forward to working with him.”
Council’s newest member, Sue Himmelrich, said she’s only known Cole for two months.
“I have a couple of big issues, one of them being transparency, and another being social justice, and I found him to be on the page that I’m on with those issues throughout all of my conversations with him,” she said, “and I have a lot of faith that this will really work out for Santa Monica.”
Councilmember Pam O’Connor, who did not attend the meeting, wrote in to say that she’s been watching Cole’s career since he was mayor of Pasadena.
“He brings his wide range of experiences and finely honed executive management skills to Santa Monica,” she said in an e-mail read by McKeown.
At their June 9 council meeting, McKeown said, Cole will be introduced to the public.
Rod Gould took a job as vice president of management for Management Partners, a consulting group, the company announced this week.