Santa Monica’s city manager Susan McCarthy announced Monday that she will retire from the job she has held for six years in November. When John Jalili retired as city manager in 1999, the City Council appointed McCarthy, who had been assistant city manager for five years, to replace him. During her 24-year stint in City Hall, McCarthy was also director of Community and Cultural Services (1992-96), director of personnel (1981- 85), assistant director, Administrative Services (1979-81), human resources administrator (1976-79), and administrative analyst for the directors of Transportation and Administrative Services (1975-76). From 1986 to 1992, she was on the staff of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. “The challenges and rewards of this job have shaped my life for the past six years. I have appreciated the opportunity to work for a remarkable group of Councilmembers and with a talented staff,” said McCarthy. “While I considered staying one more year, in particular to help advance our work on homelessness and youth violence prevention, I am determined to retire at 60 as I had long hoped. “I look forward to traveling with my husband, whose work takes him across the country, spending more time with my parents on the East Coast and enjoying Santa Monica, a truly wonderful community in which to live.” On McCarthy’s watch, City Hall bought 11-plus acres of Main Street land from the RAND Corporation for $53 million, maintained its Triple A bond rating through the post 9/11 economic downturn, completed the Civic Center Specific Plan, began work with Macerich on the redevelopment of Santa Monica Place, built the new public safety building, began construction of the new Main Library and Civic Center parking structure, began work on an expanded Virginia Avenue Park, secured Council approval of a major Big Blue Bus yard expansion, and won an increase of the hotel room tax. McCarthy has a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and received a master’s degree from the Annenberg School of Communications at USC. She and her husband, Kevin McCarthy, who is with the RAND Corporation, are Santa Monica residents. “This has been a remarkable and challenging period in Santa Monica’s history,” said Mayor Pam O’Connor, “and we were fortunate to have a person of Susan McCarthy’s caliber at the helm for the past six years. She is a consummate professional, ethical, smart, hard-working, with a genuine desire to serve the people of Santa Monica.” The Santa Monica City Council is expected to meet soon to decide on a process for finding McCarthy’s replacement. McCarthy is the second top longtime City official to resign in recent months. Director of Planning and Community Development Suzanne Frick recently took a similar post with the City of Long Beach. Reacting to McCarthy’s announcement, Mayor Pro Tem Herb Katz said, “Susan’s retirement is a definite void in our City. She will be missed. Susan has great integrity, principles and knowledge. She has also been a good friend and advisor. On the other side of the coin I admire her wanting to be with her husband and spend time with her family.” Council member Richard Bloom said, “Susan has provided this community with unparalleled leadership in her six years as City Manager. Susan is a woman who holds herself to the highest standards of honesty and integrity and I thank her for expecting that from me and the community, as well.“She and I have commiserated many times about the difficulty of balancing our professional and community responsibilities while making time for our extended families. It comes as no surprise to me and serves to underscore her values that she has chosen to depart so that she can spend more time with her mom and dad. I have been deeply privileged to have served Santa Monica alongside Susan McCarthy and wish her the very best as she transitions to a new phase of her life.”
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