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Katie Lichtig to Return to Santa Monica as Second in Command


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August 8, 2017 -- Katie Lichtig, who coordinated Santa Monica's earthquake recovery efforts and played a key role in the construction of its Public Safety Facility, is headed back to City Hall.

An assistant to the City Manager in Santa Monica from 1992 to 2001, Lichtig will rejoin the City as Assistant City Manager/Chief Operating Officer after a "rigorous national search," officials said Monday.

Katie Lichtig
Katie Lichtig (Ken Kienow Photography)

Lichtig currently serves as City Manager of San Luis Obispo, a post she has held for seven and a half years. Her last day on the job will be September 28, the town's officials said.

“I sought out Katie because I knew about her achievements and skills in public administration," said Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole. "After a rigorous process with stiff competition Katie rose to the top.

“I am certain Katie is going to do great things in Santa Monica and I look forward to establishing a wonderful partnership with her as we create a 21st Century government.”

Lichtig will oversee 11 departments and 2,300 staff and serve as "the hub" for the City’s leadership team, City officials said. In her role as COO, she will "spearhead strategic and operational planning and performance management for the City."

In a statement issued Monday Lichtig said, “The community and city staff are tackling important issues and it is exciting for me to be a part of the innovation and change that is envisioned.

"I look forward to bringing my skills, experience and knowledge of Santa Monica to help the team make the vision for a 21st Century city a reality.”

During her previous tenure in Santa Monica, Lichtig also developed and administered the City's capital budget, managed policy documents for the City Council and implemented the City's performance measurement program.

She left Santa Monica in June 2001 to become acting City Manager of Malibu ("Santa Monica Official Picked to Run Malibu," May 31, 2001)

After leaving Malibu in 2006, Lichtig served as Assistant City Manager/Chief Operating Officer for the City of Beverly Hills, a post she held until 2010.

As City manager of San Luis Obispo, she helped steer the City of 45,000 through the great recession, officials said. Among her accomplishments were expanding open space, using technology to boost public participation and overseeing major infrastructure improvements.

"She has been a tireless advocate for the City, a strong leader of our staff," Mayor Heidi Harmon said in a statement. "She also volunteers in many organizations in our community.

"We are disappointed to see her make this transition but we understand her desire to contribute to Santa Monica and return to the place she started her career in city management.”

Lichtig will replace former Assistant City Manager Elaine Polachek, who recently accepted a top post at Santa Monica College, in the re-titled post ("Retired Santa Monica Assistant City Manager to Become Interim Executive V.P. at Santa Monica College," August 3, 2017).

Lichtig is scheduled to start in early October with a salary of $275,508.


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