A Canary in the Coal Mine for All Cities? Santa Monica City Manager Steps Down

Rick Cole discusses the existential challenges cities must grapple to be a leading city in the 21st century, Santa Monica's achievements during his five years as city manager, and the sacrifices that will be made as the city endures COVID-19.

1 minute read

April 22, 2020, 10:00 AM PDT

By Clare Letmon


Santa Monica Route 66

Mike Flippo / Shutterstock

Exemplifying the existential budgetary challenges now facing city leaders—balancing the crippling impacts of a sudden drop in revenues while demand for critical services grows—is the news from Santa Monica that City Manager Rick Cole has resigned. Citing the city's immediate need to deal with a projected $300 million shortfall over the next 26 months, Cole's resignation letter asserts he's stepping down "to facilitate the restructuring that must take place" for staff reductions at every level of the city's workforce. 

Shared here is TPR’s conversation this weekend with Rick Cole, alongside his letter of resignation, in which he elaborates on the navigational challenges 21st-century cities now faceincluding the sacrifices that remain as the challenges of COVID-19 grow in magnitude:

"So I am offering to step aside now to facilitate the restructuring that must take place, knowing we will need to make reductions in staff at every level of the organizationliterally from the top to the bottom (or as I have always preferred to think of it, from the spoke of the wheel all the way outward to where the rubber meets the road)." Rick Cole

For the full interview, visit The Planning Report.

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