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Public Works Director Promoted to Help City Navigate Coronavirus Crisis

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Lookout Staff

January 12, 2020 -- Public Works Director Susan Cline has been promoted to to help advance the City's top priorities during the coronavirus emergency and plan for its recovery, City officials announced Tuesday.

Cline will join the City Manager’s Office as Acting Assistant City Manager and will play a critical role with the City’s Emergency Operations Center "as COVID-19 peaks in Los Angeles County and vaccination begins," officials said in a statement.

In particular, Cline will "promote public health as we work to save lives and support vaccination amidst the catastrophic crisis occurring across LA County, as well as to plan for full reopening of City operations and services.

"She will also continue to help make necessary adjustments to our operations to deliver strong city services, as the City was forced to make painful decreases to its operating budget last Summer to account for the revenue decreases forecast at the time and now clearly seen in the pandemic," the statement said.

A Santa Monica resident, Cline assumed the top post at Public Works in 2016 after serving as assistant director for six years, including two stints as interim director. As director, she oversaw nine divisions with a combined workforce of more than 500 full-time employees.

“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,” said Interim City Manager Lane Dilg.

“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."

In her new post, Cline will work 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," officials said.

Cline will assume the post on Monday, "providing additional stability and continuity for the organization" when Dilg leaves the City this Spring.

Assistant Public Works Director Rick Valte, a 20-year veteran of the department, will serve as acting director, officials said. The assistant director's post will not be filled during this period.

Said Cline, “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.

“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,” she said.

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