Incoming Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole was introduced to the public at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, much to the delight of council and Cole himself.
It was a feel-good affair from the beginning, with Cole beginning his speech by eloquently thanking Interim City Manager Elaine Polachek for her wonderful job.
“She is a sterling example of the depth of professionalism and competence that you have on the City Staff here in the City of Santa Monica,” Cole said of Polachek. “And I look forward to working here for many years.”
Cole, 61, and the City have come to terms on an agreement that, according to City Staff, will pay him an annual base salary of $329,424 and require he live in Santa Monica. His first day on the job will be June 29.
The City will also pay Cole’s expenses of moving to Santa Monica and will provide him with a rental housing allowance for up to seven months. The monthly allowance is $2,000 and won’t exceed a total of $14,000.
Other items in the agreement include a severance package of nine months monthly salary, an available home loan at a fixed interest rate of 3 percent, a review process that will take place each year evaluated by Council, and he will receive benefits and privileges customarily provided to department heads and set forth in the Executive Pay Plan.
As his speech continued, Cole went on to invoke the words of Puritan lawyer and Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor John Winthrop, John Kennedy, and even translated a phrase from Japanese to English.
“What I want to emphasis tonight to the community as the choice of the City Council, is partnership, is building meaningful, strong, long-lasting, sustainable partnerships,” Cole said. “And future success will come from building strong partnerships with citizens, with our community institutions and organizations, with our businesses, with our regional neighbors, and with the public servants that work on behalf of the community everyday. And that’s what I want to bring to this partnership.”
After the speech, Mayor Kevin McKeown, speaking on behalf of the Council, “welcome[ed] home” Cole and applauded his willingness to learn, to which Cole, slightly modifying his earlier-translated Japanese phrase, said, “I’ll go look, I’ll go see, and I’ll go learn.”
Before Cole left, he said that he had chosen the numbers 4-6-6-3 for his new cell phone password. The numbers spell out H-O-M-E.
“I already feel very much at home,” he said.
Welcome to Santa Monica, Rick Cole.