Santa Monica City Manager Rod Gould Announces Retirement

Rod Gould, who was first hired as Santa Monica’s city manager in late 2009, publicly announced that he will be retiring once January comes to a close. The announcement comes on the heels of several debates within the city, many revolving around how to approach future development. But redevelopment debate is only one of many issues facing the future of Santa Monica. City officials are also looking ahead to November, where three council seats will be up for grabs on the seven-member council.

Officials are looking into hiring a successor for Gould after the November elections take place and the council has been solidified. One of the first tasks for the newly constituted council will be to hire Gould’s replacement. Whoever nabs the position will be paid $353,000 a year.

Gould spoke on his time as a Santa Monica official, saying that it was “the capstone to [his] 35-year career in public service.” He added that he would be using the retirement to find a better balance between his work life and home life by focusing on consulting and volunteering. He listed his boosting of the city’s AAA bond rating despite the city’s lack of redevelopment funds as one of his biggest accomplishments during his time as city manager.

Gould came under fire in May after announcing the hiring of a local community activist as public affairs officer for the city, only to withdraw the job offer shortly after. The community activist, Elizabeth Riel, filed a lawsuit against the city, saying that Gould bullied her after learning about past affiliations in the political sector. Council Member Kevin McKeown told reporters that there were no specific triggers such as Riel that resulted in Gould’s decision to retire; he only is in a re-evaluation stage in his life.

The city will not immediately choose a replacement for Gould. Instead, they will consult the public and city officials in order to “carefully ascertain the direction desired by residents and other members of our community.”

Read more about Gould’s retirement here.