Santa Monica has been without a permanent chief executive since Rick Cole resigned in April 2020, but City Council formally approved the contract of former City Manager John Jalili, who is set to begin serving as interim city manager when current interim manager Lane Dilg leaves this week.

Council appointed Bijan K. Jalili earlier this month to commence his term of service on June 25, 2021, and with its approval Tuesday, Jalili is expected to remain in the position until the completion of the pending recruitment for a permanent City Manager or until he hits a limit of 960 hours of time spent on the job, according to Interim City Attorney George Cardona.

“As a retired annuitant, Mr. Jalili’s employment in this position is subject to the requirements of Government Code Section 21221(h),” staff said. “In accordance with these requirements, an agreement has been reached for Mr. Jalili’s employment in this position. Under the terms of the agreement, Mr. Jalili’s hourly rate will be $133.81, which equates to an annual salary of $278,332. As a retired annuitant, as required by California law, he will receive no additional benefits.”

Council appointed Jalili after originally selecting René Bobadilla to become the city’s permanent manager. However, shortly after receiving Council approval, Mayor Sue Himmelrich said she received a letter from Bobadilla that announced he would not move forward with contract negotiations to be Santa Monica’s next city manager.

The news came a few hours after Montebello councilmembers approved a new contract with Bobadilla at their June 9 meeting by a 4-1 vote.

Bobadilla said he was grateful for the opportunity in Santa Monica but expressed regret for this matter becoming public

“While this was a very difficult decision meant to be private until appropriate, I sincerely appreciate the vote of confidence and support the Montebello Council has made and the terms of their offer demonstrate their desire to continue building on the collaboration and cooperation we’ve been able to establish,” he said. “This is the right decision for me and my family at this stage of my career and I genuinely thank the Council for their commitment and backing as we enhance our partnership for the benefit of our residents and the community.”