Rick Cole, who was selected as Santa Monica’s next city manager this week, is slated to make $329,424 plus benefits, according to a motion passed unanimously by City Council early Friday morning.
Cole is currently serving as Los Angeles’ deputy mayor of budget and innovation. He’ll start withthe same paythat Interim City Manager Elaine Polachek was making during the four months she watched the city’s throne.
Council is set to officially approve Cole’s contract at a regular meeting on June 9. It’s expected that Cole will be present at that meeting, Mayor Kevin McKeown said.
Polachek, who told council early on in the process that she wasn’t interested in City Hall’s top job, will return to her position as assistant city manager.
Cole, who’s previously served as the city manager of Ventura and Azusa, will receive the same benefits as City Hall’s other department heads and will accrue vacation and sick days in the same way, but will start the job with 21 days of paid vacation and 12 days of paid sick leave.
Cole starts at a lower salary than his predecessor, Rod Gould, left behind. Gould announced in July that after five years he’d step down from the post at the end of January. Management Partners announced earlier this week that Gould had taken a position as vice president within the company.
As was the case for the previous city managers, City Hall will offer incentives for Cole to move to Santa Monica. Taxpayers will cover relocation benefits and pay for up to seven months of temporary rental housing at up to $2,000 per month.
Cole will also be able to take a home loan of up to $1.3 million from City Hall at a 3 percent interest rate. Cole would pay the property taxes and would have to pay off the loan within two years of leaving the city.
Cole has held his current post for two years and previously served as a mayor and council member in the city of Pasadena.
Cole graduated from Occidental College in 1978, according to his LinkedIn profile, and got a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University two years later.
Council approved unanimously of the hiring, something that’s becoming increasingly rare on significant issues in Santa Monica.
McKeown told the public what it was like to make reference calls about Cole.
“I heard things like ‘approachable,’ ‘visionary,’ ‘good listener,’ ‘brought our community together,’ and ‘found the balance between community development and quality of life,'” he said.
Councilmember Gleam Davis added the word “integrity” and Councilmember Sue Himmelrich said “transparency” and “social justice.”
In local governments like Santa Monica’s, 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.