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Council Reports No Action on City Manager Hiring

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By Jorge Casuso

July 12, 2021 -- The Santa Monica City Council continued its search for a City Manager Saturday, meeting for some seven hours before reporting no decision.

The Council will meet again on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in what will be a record eighth attempt to hire a permanent city manager.

Saturday's special closed session took place one month after Montebello City Manager René Bobadilla rejected the offer to become the new City Manager after the Council voted 6 to 0 to hire him.

Bobadilla informed the Council he was declining the job after the Montebello City Council reportedly offered him a salary of nearly $330,000 a year, an 18-month severance package and lifetime medical coverage.

In a letter to the Santa Monica City Council, Bobadilla said he was "truly disappointed by the way this matter became public," referring to leaks indicating that he was the top candidate.

"Unfortunately, this significantly compromised the situation and impacted my ability to have robust, confidential communications without undue external influence," Bobadilla wrote.

Former City Manager John Jalili, who was tapped by the Council to serve as interim City Manager when it voted to hire Bobadilla, assumed the post June 25.

Jalili -- who served as Santa Monica city manager from 1984 to 1999 -- will remain in the post on an interim bases "until the completion of the pending recruitment for a permanent City Manager," City officials said.

Jalili replaced Interim City Manager Lane Dilg, who had held the top post on an interim basis after Rick Cole resigned in April 2020 ("Cole Resigns as Santa Monica City Manager," April 17, 2020).

It is unclear how long the Council will take to find a permanent city manager after having held six special closed-door sessions before voting to hire Bobadilla ("Council Votes to Hire Bobadilla as City Manager, Jalili as Interim," June 8, 2021).

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