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Susan Cola Appointed New Interim Santa Monica City Attorney

She becomes the city's third interim chief counsel in past 2 years

Santa Monica has hired a new Interim City Attorney while the long search for a permanent chief counsel continues.

At its Tuesday night meeting, the City Council appointed Deputy City Attorney Susan Cola as Interim City Attorney. She replaces Interim City Attorney Joseph Lawrence who is leaving his position April 5. 

Cola will start her new post with a salary of $288,120 on April 6.  

"Susan has proven herself to be an extremely talented legal expert who understands the many complexities of municipal law," said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. "My colleagues and I are extremely grateful to Susan for stepping up to serve as Interim City Attorney for this period."  

Cola has over 25 years of municipal law experience, specializing in land use, public finance, real estate, public works contracting, economic development, and affordable housing. She joined the Santa Monica City Attorney's Office in 2012 and has since represented the city's legal interests on many complex matters, said city officials.

Cola was a prosecutor and transactional attorney for the City of San Diego for 11 years.  She also represented several cities in Southern California as outside redevelopment counsel. 

"I look forward to ensuring a smooth transition," said Cola.  "Santa Monica is unique. As a municipal lawyer, I feel very fortunate to be working in a smaller city with so many big challenges and opportunities."    

Cole graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law and earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from U.C. Davis.

Cola becomes the third interim head of the city's legal department in the past two years.

In April 2020, George Cardona was appointed interim City Attorney to replace City Attorney Lane Dilg, who was appointed to serve as Interim City Manager. She left her post last June as she relocated with her family to Washington D.C. Cardona was then replaced by the outgoing interim legal chief Lawrence in September 2021

City officials said the "Council's recruitment of a permanent City Attorney is ongoing."


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