Kathryn Spellman Vernez, previously Assistant to the City Manager for Community & Government Relations, has been promoted to Santa Monica’s Deputy City Manager for Special Projects.
City Manager Rod Gould announced the appointment with enthusiasm.
“Kate works tirelessly to maintain and strengthen the City’s relationships with neighborhoods, businesses, community leaders, legislators at the County, State and Federal levels, news media, and affiliate cities in the region.
“Her efforts pay off time and again. She is known for her leadership of highly complex projects such as internal coordination and external agency relationships to bring light rail to Santa Monica,” Gould said.
During her tenure in Santa Monica, Vernez took the lead on numerous initiatives. As Assistant to the City Manager, she led the orchestration of the City’s response to Expo’s plan for the light rail extension to Santa Monica.
This meant fusing the Planning Department’s work in the station design and the street running segment with the Public Works Department’s changes to the right-of-way, and teaming up with the Fire Department on the need for sufficient space and time for emergency response along the line.
She leads the effort to involve residents in the immediate proximity of the proposed maintenance facility in commenting on the design of the buffer zone promised to help shield homes from the maintenance facility’s impact on the neighboring community.
“Kate has helped us to improve our working relations with Expo, Metro, and the design-build firm that will actually perform the work.
There are literally hundreds of issues to be resolved, but we are in a better place to resolve them thanks to Kate,” added Gould.
Kate spearheaded the development of “Be Excited, Be Prepared,” the multi-media and multi-departmental effort to communicate with residents and businesses on the status of dozens of public and private construction projects throughout the City.
Her work in Santa Monica involves all intergovernmental matters including the City’s federal, state and county program, and interface with regulatory agencies.
She headed special long range regional planning efforts including the Westside Cities Mobility Study, and contributed as Santa Monica’s staff representative on formation of a Westside Council of Governments.
She was responsible for cable franchise negotiations and compliance; advisor in right-of-way and telecommunications matters; and the City Manager’s representative to special efforts including resolution of MtBE water contamination.
Prior to joining the City Manager’s office in 1987, Vernez worked with New York’s Mayor Koch in a variety of capacities including Assistant Commissioner for Intergovernmental Relations of the Department of Employment job training agency.
She began her career with the City of New York, first working with the Housing Preservation and Development agency in legislative advocacy, and as the New York City Comptroller’s housing analyst on the Board of Estimate.
“I am grateful for this opportunity to continue serving Santa Monica as we enter this unprecedented period of civic improvement. It is really through collaboration with our Council, residents, businesses, and State and Federal elected officials and agencies that we can accomplish great things. I look forward to the partnerships that will make real the community’s vision for Santa Monica,” said Vernez.
Vernez earned a joint Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and in Social Work-Community Organizing from Columbia University.
She completed UCLA’s Executive Program in Management.
She received her B.A. from New York University.
Kate and her husband, Georges, live in Los Angeles, and their two adult daughters, Chantal and Simone, live and work in California.
Follow The Mirror on Twitter: twitter.com/SMMirror
Like The Mirror on Facebook: facebook.com/SMMirror