Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By David Ganezer
Observer Staff Writer 

City Appoints Public Works Director Susan Cline as New Acting Assistant City Manager

"Cline is a Santa Monica resident who has held key leadership roles in the Public Works Department for more than a decade"

 

January 13, 2021

City Appoints Public Works Director Susan Cline as New City Manager

Public Works Director Susan Cline has been appointed Acting Assistant City Manager, the City said in a press release. The PUblic Works department is the City's largest department.

The Acting Assistant City Manager position is slated for a six-month term beginning January 18, 2021, the city said. Interim City Manager Lane Dilg leaves the City this Spring, reportedly because her husband is taking a position in the Biden administration. So presumably when Dilg leaves, Cline will move into the top position.

Santa Monica has a City Manager form of government, and whomever holds the position is very powerful. The position has been vacant since Rick Cline resigned as City Manager in May, 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic and the lockdowns. In his resignation letter, Cole cited his inability to take a pay cut in line with the city's mandatory 20% reduction.

The City press release follows:

Interim City Manager Lane Dilg has asked Public Works Director Susan Cline to join the City Manager's Office as Acting Assistant City Manager to take a leadership role in meeting community needs as COVID-19 peaks in Los Angeles County and vaccination begins. Cline is a Santa Monica resident who has held key leadership roles in the Public Works Department for more than a decade, including serving as Director of Public Works since 2016.

"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. I am grateful to her as a City leader and a resident for taking on this critical role."

In her role as Public Works Director, Cline has overseen operations for the City's largest department, a department that offers many of the services that have the greatest impact on resident's lives, including refuse collection, public landscape, beach maintenance, capital projects, and environmental programs. Cline is a champion for sustainability and has been instrumental in incorporating sustainable practices across Public Works and City operations.

As Acting Assistant City Manager, Cline will work alongside Interim City Manager Lane 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. In particular, Cline will play a critical role with the City's Emergency Operations Center to 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.

"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," said Cline. "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."

The Acting Assistant City Manager position is slated for a six-month term beginning January 18, 2021, providing additional stability and continuity for the organization when current Interim City Manager Lane Dilg leaves the City this Spring.

 

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