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Bobadilla Rejects Offer to Become Santa Monica City Manager

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By Jorge Casuso

Editor's note: This article was updated at 8 p.m. to include a statement from Bobadilla.

June 10, 2021 -- Montebello City Manager René Bobadilla informed the Santa Monica City Council on Thursday that he is rejecting the offer to become the new City Manager.

The rejection letter comes less than two days after the City Council voted 6 to 0 to hire Bobadilla and bring back former City Manager John Jalili to serve on an interim basis during the transition.

“I regret that he decided to stay in Montebello, but I understand they made him an offer he couldn't refuse,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “He has done a great job for them.”

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On Wednesday night, the Montebello City Council reportedly offered Bobadilla a salary of nearly $330,000 a year, an 18-month severance package and lifetime medical coverage.

"I'm very disappointed," said Councilmember Phil Brock. "He would have been a voice of common sense and decency and helped us unify our very divided government.

"They gave him a great offer and retained him," Brock said.

Councilmember Oscar de la Torre believes City negotiators did not do enough the lure Bobadilla from the smaller, lower-profile Latino City.

"It seems like our negotiators failed to deliver our Council's resolve to hire him," de la Torre said.

Bobadilla said in an email Thursday that his decision was the right one for him and his family at this stage of his career.

“I sincerely appreciate the vote of confidence and support the Montebello council has made, and the terms of their offer demonstrate their desire to continue building on the collaboration and cooperation we’ve been able to establish,” he said.

“I genuinely thank the council for their commitment and backing as we enhance our partnership for the benefit of our residents and the community,” Bobadilla said, adding that he was grateful for Santa Monica's offer.

Mayor Himmelrich issued the following statement late Thursday afternoon.

"Today, my Council colleagues and I received a letter from René Bobadilla announcing that he will not move forward with contract negotiations to be Santa Monica’s next city manager," Himmelrich said.

"Mr. Bobadilla has made the decision to continue his public service with the City of Montebello.

"We will take up this matter at our next Council meeting and remain confident that we will hire an exceptional, energetic leader for our world-class organization.

"We are thrilled to welcome John Jalili back to Santa Monica on June 25, 2021, to serve as our interim city manager," Himmelrich said.

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