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Message from Mayor Kevin McKeown

For the past five years, Rick Cole’s leadership in Santa Monica has overseen changes as momentous as the coming of Expo Light Rail and the agreement with the FAA to permanently close the airport.

He’s put his heart and soul into making Santa Monica a model of 21st-century city government, data-driven, focused, and collaborative.

I can only imagine how painful it is for him now to demonstrate, through his own action, how the coronavirus pandemic and resultant economic collapse have made agonizing sacrifices inevitable, right up to the top office in City Hall.

As Mayor, I’m grateful for Rick’s steady hand over these years, as our community worked through challenges like a new Downtown plan, unanticipated revolutions in mobility, and creating better accountability and responsiveness through innovations like our community Budget Task Force.

Most recently, of course, Rick has served as our Emergency Director, making the tough choices on how best to protect every one of us in a duststorm of often-conflicting public health and local economic advice.

It is therefore with sadness, gratitude, and respect that we must consider Rick’s decision to leave the post of Santa Monica City Manager.

We have called a special meeting for the Council to receive his offer, and consider the role of City Manager and how we can ensure continuity of key leadership during this crisis and upcoming recovery.

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