Rod Gould, the current city manager of Poway, has been confirmed as the unanimous choice of the City Council to be Santa Monica’s next city manager.
The long-awaited announcement was made at the Tuesday, December 8th, City Council meeting where Mayor Pro Tempore Pam O’Connor introduced Gould and his wife, Rosaline, to the citizens and attendees at the packed council chambers.
Lamont Ewell, the city manager since January 2006, who announced his intended retirement this August, sat at his place among the council members as Gould made his introduction to the audience and City officials.
As Santa Monica City Manager, Gould will receive a base salary of $285,000, plus Gould would be eligible for a $1.3 million loan for relocation assistance and to purchase a home in the city. Council member Bobby Shriver was the lone decenter on the vote that approved this employment contract, despite voting in favor of Gould as Ewell’s replacement.
Shriver cited the tough economic situation as the reason for voting against the particulars of the employment contract. He said that the city could have negotiated for a better deal, adding (as an aside to Gould himself) that his vote in no way reflected any lack of respect for Gould as a professional.
Also at the meeting, the City Council approved a motion to enter into an extended contract with Ewell, which will provide him the same pay and benefits he currently receives, until January 22, when Gould will take over the position.
The appointment follows a nationwide recruitment that attracted more than 100 candidates and interviews with six finalists behind closed doors, during the past month.
Before becoming the City Manager of Poway, Gould spent five years as Assistant City Manager in Walnut Creek, five years as City Manager of Monrovia, and more than nine years as City Manager of San Rafael.
“He distinguished himself in these cities by streamlining operations, reinforcing community policing, developing award winning housing and financial reporting,” read a statement from the Santa Monica City Manager’s office.
Gould is also a former President of the City Manager’s Department of the League of California Cities and received Masters Degrees in Public Administration and Education from Harvard and a Bachelors Degree in Economics and Political Science from Yale.
“The experience he’s gained throughout his career, his skill mix and focus on community engagement give us every confidence that he is the right person at the right time for Santa Monica,” said O’Connor in the statement.
Gould was born in 1957 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He began work for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in Washington, D.C. as an analyst, and served for a year as a VISTA volunteer in San Francisco. He was also employed in operations for the Boston Housing Authority and as a consultant for Deloitte, Haskins and Sells. He and his wife have two children, Trevor and Emily.
After Gould wraps up his duties in Poway, he will take over Ewell’s duties as the manager of a city that has a staggering $500 million budget.
Replacing Ewell was viewed by many as a painful process, as Ewell enjoys high approval and high praise for his time in Santa Monica.
City Council member Richard Bloom told the Mirror in August that Ewell is “hands down one of the finest human beings I have ever known, not to mention an incredibly effective, compassionate and intelligent leader of our community.”
“Lamont has been an outstanding City Manager,” City Council member Gleam Davis told the Mirror also in August, “He is a consummate professional who leaves a wonderful legacy here. I will greatly miss his leadership as well as his sense of humor, warm smile, and infectious laugh.”