City Manager Rick Cole (File photo)

Former City Manager Rick Cole will receive several months of salary plus benefits after announcing his resignation from the position last week.

Under Cole’s contract with the city of Santa Monica, he is entitled to nine months of severance pay if the departure was voluntary. He will remain on paid administrative leave through July 4 and will receive seven months of severance pay after that date, according to an agenda item for the April 28 City Council meeting. The duration of severance pay was reduced because Cole will be on paid leave for nearly three months.

Cole will also receive additional benefits guaranteed by the terms of his employment contract.

At the same meeting, City Council will adjust the salary for Lane Dilg as she transitions from the city attorney position to interim city manager. Dilg and Cole had previously offered to reduce their salaries by 20%, so Dilg will enter the position with a $278,332 salary — a 20% reduction from the established salary for the city manager, according to the agenda item.

Dilg will also receive the benefits provided to all members of the city’s executive pay plan and will provide for six months’ severance pay upon separation from the city by termination or mutual agreement.

Cole announced his resignation on April 17, citing the challenges of attempting to balance the city’s budget amid a steep drop in revenue caused by the coronavirus shutdown, which has evaporated the tax dollars the city collects from retailers, restaurants, hotels and parking. The city predicts a $226 million budget gap through fiscal year 2020-2021 and is offering buyouts to employees who leave their jobs.

City Council chose Dilg to fill the position at an emergency meeting on April 18.

Dilg, a graduate of Yale Law School, has served as City Attorney since 2017, leading an office of attorneys and staff who advise City Council on legal matters, represent the city in civil litigation and code enforcement matters, prosecute misdemeanor criminal violations and litigate on behalf of consumers and tenants.

Prior to coming to Santa Monica, Dilg served as senior counsel to UCLA and prosecuted federal criminal offenses as an assistant United States attorney in the Public Corruption & Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

Dilg also served as Counsel to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, where she was a trusted legal adviser to Senator Dianne Feinstein in confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Join the Conversation


  1. Shame on you Rick Cole and City counsel for mismanagement of city’s finances. The City Council has the audacity to reward him. They are cutting jobs, and offering buyouts of $15,000 for tenured employees, which is less than one month of Rick’s salary. These employees have served the community with a great deal of pride, hard work, and dedication. The City’s attraction and beauty, has been sustained and maintained with the sweat off the backs of it’s employees. We need transparency of the City’s finances and hope the interim City manager does away with all Ricks hires, and ideologies. City of Santa Monica has always done well until Rick was hired, there goes our City. Rick Coles ego has been his downfall with previous City’s and hopefully the residents can place the right council members in place that will make Santa Monica Great again.

  2. Everyone should keep an eye on what the city council pays itself and what kind of benefits these people get when they should just disappear. Remember, these amounts are what they ALL will get once they figure out they don’t know how to do their jobs!

  3. Ask the city council to take a 20% decrease in pay. I know doctors that don’t get paid that much.

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