In an effort to assist the community as COVID-19 peaks in Los Angeles County and vaccination begins, Public Works Director Susan Cline is set to join the City Manager’s Office as Acting Assistant City Manager this month.

Interim City Manager Lane Dilg asked Cline, a Santa Monica resident who has held key leadership roles in the Public Works Department for more than a decade, including serving as Director of Public Works since 2016, to assume the position, which will be responsible for working alongside Dilg, Deputy City Manager Anuj Gupta and department directors to advance the City’s top priorities: emergency operations, clean and safe neighborhoods, economic recovery, and racial equity inside and outside the organization.

The Acting Assistant City Manager position is slated for a six-month term beginning January 18, 2021, and is expected to provide additional stability and continuity for the organization when current Dilg leaves Santa Monica this Spring, according to city staff.

Cline is also expected to play a critical role within the City’s Emergency Operations Center to promote public health as the city works to save lives and support vaccination efforts amidst the COVID-19 crisis, according to a news release from city leaders. “She will continue to help make necessary adjustments to our operations to deliver strong city services,” since the city was forced to make large cuts to its operating budget last Summer to account for the revenue decreases that are forecast for the future.

“Susan has proven herself again and again as a strong leadership voice for resident-facing services, increased public health measures to protect the community, and racial equity initiatives within the City organization,” Dilg said. “Her deep knowledge across City operations and her grit and resilience in overseeing essential staff during the pandemic will be invaluable as we move through the next stages of this crisis. I am grateful to her as a City leader and a resident for taking on this critical role.”

In her previous role as Public Works Director, Cline has overseen operations for the City’s largest department, a department that offers many of the services that have the greatest impact on resident’s lives, including refuse collection, public landscape, beach maintenance, capital projects, and environmental programs. Cline is a champion for sustainability and has been instrumental in incorporating sustainable practices across Public Works and City operations.

“I love Santa Monica and look forward to contributing to community health and resilience in a new way alongside the City Manager’s Office and the talented City leadership team,” said Cline. “During this critical time amidst the health emergency, there’s nothing more important right now than doing all we can to save lives and keeping our essential staff healthy as they serve the community on the front lines.”