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City Gets New Manager  

By Jonathan Friedman
Lookout Staff

December 9, 2009 -- The Santa Monica City Council Tuesday night turned to a small San Diego County town with rural roots for its new City Manager, naming Rod Gould to the City's top paid post.

Gould, 52, who is currently the city manager of Poway, will replace P. Lamont Ewell as the head of the City staff on January 23.

Gould has run the City of nearly 50,000 located in northern San Diego County since 2006. He also served as city manager of Monrovia and San Rafael. And prior to taking the job in Poway, he was the assistant city manager for Walnut Creek.

“Mr. Gould’s strengths, experience and education lie in strategic financial management, city operations and civic engagement,” Mayor Pro Tem Pam O’Connor said in a statement issued by the City Tuesday.

She added, “The experience he’s gained throughout his career, his skill mix and focus on community engagement give us every confidence that he is the right person at the right time for Santa Monica.”

Gould said at Tuesday’s meeting that he is impressed with Santa Monica’s services to its residents and businesses as well as with the City’s leaderships on issues such as sustainability, transportation and homelessness.

He called Santa Monica “the most exciting city in California today.”

“These are difficult times … but I have no doubt working with your excellent City staff and community leaders, we can carry out your vision for Santa Monica with efficiency, effectiveness and equity for all,” Gould said.

Gould will receive a base salary of $285,000 per year. He will also get relocation and temporary housing assistance as well as a $1.3 million loan to purchase a home in Santa Monica.

Although the vote to hire Gould was 6 to 0 (Mayor Ken Genser was absent), Council member Bobby Shriver voted against the contract details. He said the City could have gotten a more reasonable deal had there been a tougher negotiation.

“I think it’s a rough thing, particularly in the case of the loan, to say to other staff members here and other people in the community, ‘That was the toughest deal we could do in this environment,’” Shriver said.

Although Ewell’s retirement takes effect at the end of the year, he will remain on the staff as interim city manager until Gould begins his job.

A Pittsburgh native, Gould received a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Yale in 1979 and master’s degrees in education and public administration from Harvard in 1982 and 1985.

He began work for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in Washington D.C. as an analyst and served for a year as a VISTA volunteer in San Francisco. Gould was also employed in operations for the Boston Housing Authority and as a consultant for Deloitte, Haskins and Sells.

Before becoming city manager of Poway, Gould spent more than nine years as city manager of San Rafael, five years as city manager of Monrovia and five years as assistant city manager in Walnut Creek.

Gould served as city manager in residence at USC in 2008 and UC Berkeley in 2000. He is a former president of the City Manager’s Department of the League of California Cities. This year, Gould served on the Cities/Counties/Schools Partnership Task Force on State Budget and Fiscal Reform.

While he was the assistant city manager in Walnut Creek, the City won the 2004 Award for Advancement of Diverse Communities from the League of California Cities. During Gould’s time in Monrovia, the city was recognized as an All-American City by the National Civic League.

Gould and his wife, Rosaline, have two grown children.


"He is the right person at the right time for Santa Monica.” Pam O'Connor



“It’s a rough thing to say, ‘That was the toughest deal we could do in this environment.’” Bobby Shriver

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