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Jalili, City Reach Agreement for Interim City Manager Post

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By Jorge Casuso

June 17, 2021 -- Former City Manager John Jalili -- who has been credited with helping transform Santa Monica into a tech and tourist hub -- will return to run the City on an interim basis next Friday.

The City Council on Tuesday is expected to approve the terms of the agreement City negotiators have reached with Jalili, who served as Santa Monica city manager from 1984 to 1999.

Under the terms, Jalili will be paid $133.81 an hour, which equates to an annual salary of $278,332, according to the agenda item added Friday.

As a retired annuitant, he will receive no additional benefits under California law, which allows a retired person to "serve without reinstatement from retirement or loss or interruption of benefits."

Jones of the Bay

Jalili will replace Interim City Manager Lane Dilg, who next Tuesday will leave the post she has held since April 20 of last year to relocate with her family to Washington, D.C.

Santa Monica has not had a permanent City Manager since Rick Cole resigned 14 months ago after coming under increasing pressure for his handling of the budding coronavirus emergency ("Cole Resigns as Santa Monica City Manager," April 17, 2020).

Jalili will remain in the post on an interim bases "until the completion of the pending recruitment for a permanent City Manager," according to the agenda item.

It is difficult to tell how long the search for a permanent city manager, which the Council will resume on Tuesday, will take.

The Council held six special closed-door sessions before voting last Tuesday to hire Montebello City Manager René Bobadilla ("Council Votes to Hire Bobadilla as City Manager, Jalili as Interim," June 8, 2021).

Two days later, Bobadilla rejected the offer after the Montebello City Council offered him a highly lucrative contract to stay in the post ("Bobadilla Rejects Offer to Become Santa Monica City Manager," June 10, 2021).

In a letter informing Santa Monica officials of his decision, Bobadilla -- whose expected hiring was leaked -- wrote that he was "truly disappointed by the way this matter became public" ("Council Expected to Hire Montebello City Manager," June 1, 2021).

"Unfortunately, this significantly compromised the situation and impacted my ability to have robust, confidential communications without undue external influence,'" Bobadilla wrote ("René Bobadilla's letter to the City Council," June 11, 2021).

Jalili, whose experience running City Hall should prove invaluable, was tapped by the Council when Bobadilla was chosen in order "to address any timing contingencies."

Since retiring in 1999, Jalili has served as interim city manager for several South Bay cities.

Salary and benefits for the interim city manager position is included in the Fiscal Year budgets for 2020-21 and 2021-22, according to Tuesday's agenda.

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