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Santa Monica City attorney Marsha Moutrie to retire at end of 2016

Some are thrilled, others doubt the Council can find a better person to fill a difficult, powerful position.

 

September 27, 2016

Marsha Moutrie publically announced that she will be retiring at the end of the year. "Santa Monica is an incredible place and my 22 action-packed years as City Attorney have flown by. My husband has been retired for three years and on January 3rd, I'll turn 70. We want to see more of the world, together, while we can still explore on foot. My dear mother is very elderly and bedridden. She needs more company to brighten her remaining days," shared Moutrie. "Of course, it's hard to part. My clients, co-workers and this wonderfully engaged community will always have a special place in my heart."

Santa Monica city attorney Marsha Moutrie publicly announced that she will be retiring at the end of the year. Her 20 year reign has not been without controversy, so some are glad, some are not. But it is beyond question that the most powerful official, elected or unelected, in the City of Santa Monica will be gone at the end of the year.

Moutrie blames her family. "Santa Monica is an incredible place and my 22 action-packed years as City Attorney have flown by. My husband has been retired for three years and on January 3rd, I'll turn 70. We want to see more of the world, together, while we can still explore on foot. My dear mother is very elderly and bedridden. She needs more company to brighten her remaining days," shared Moutrie. "Of course, it's hard to part. My clients, co-workers and this wonderfully engaged community will always have a special place in my heart."

Moutrie was appointed to her position in December of 1993. Under the City Charter, she is responsible for advising the Council and other City officers and representing the City and its employees in all civil matters. She attends meetings of the City Council and local bodies, approving the form of contracts, drafting ordinances and resolutions, prosecuting misdemeanors and otherwise enforcing local laws. She also appoints the deputy attorneys and support staff needed to fulfill these responsibilities.

"Marsha was kind to me when I was upset about Jerry Rubin's arrest after he tried to save the trees on 2nd and 4th," says local resident Sherry Martini. "She called me into her office, listened to me and gave me a pep talk. Saying that the Treesavers saved a lot of trees by standing up. We had disagreements over the years (about the Riel matter and other items), but I realize much of what she is blamed for is not her fault. Most of the time she was just implementing what the majority City Council wanted. I think she is a good person in a very difficult job and I wish her the best."

This large body of work is handled by the office’s 42 members, comprised of 24 full-time attorneys and 18 support staffers. Each year, their work includes thousands of criminal cases and hundreds of complaints from consumers, tenants and code enforcement personnel. They defend the City and its workers in an average of about 200 civil matters in the state and federal trial and appellate courts. The cases range in complexity from straight forward trip and fall claims to civil rights and employment claims to complex constitutional challenges to City laws and policies. They also prepare or review thousands of contracts, leases and licenses, draft dozens of ordinances, provide advice at countless public and staff meetings, provide training to various groups and constantly monitor public process and transparency issues and conflict issues

"Losing Marsha Moutrie, even into her well-earned retirement, which we knew was inevitable, is a challenging transition for our City,” said Councilmember Kevin McKeown. “I’m grateful we enjoyed her excellent leadership for so many years, and grateful she leaves us such a highly skilled and motivated staff of attorneys to continue handling our legal workload while we seek a replacement. We will find a new City Attorney, but never another Marsha Moutrie.”

The Council is expected to begin its search for a new City Attorney next week.

 
 

Reader Comments
(1)

Jimmyinvenice writes:

Glad to hear Marsha is retiring. Time for a new attorney that cares about the health of the residents living near the Santa Monica Airport. We want the airport closed. No more toxic jets and loud late night flights!

 
 
 

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