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1685 Main St., Rm. 209
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 458-8301  

 

 

The City Manager's Office leads the team of City departments and staff to achieve the City Council's vision of a thriving community of sustainable wellbeing. Our mission is to foster collaboration and innovation to create a 21st century city that works for everyone.  
 
Rick_300PxWRick Cole - City Manager

rick.cole@smgov.net

Rick Cole has served as City Manager of Santa Monica since June 2015.  During his tenure, he has spearheaded work on the City Council’s five Strategic Goals: converting the Santa Monica Airport to parkland; forging a new model of mobility; taking regional leadership on homelessness; fostering an inclusive and diverse community; and promoting wellbeing so that residents Learn & Thrive.

Rick has been recognized as one of “America's Public Officials of the Year” by Governing Magazine and one of the "Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers" by Government Technology Magazine. He has won awards for municipal management excellence from the American Society of Public Administrators and the Municipal Management Association of Southern California, as well as for urban planning leadership from the Congress for the New Urbanism.

Prior to coming to Santa Monica, Rick served as Deputy Mayor for Budget and Innovation for the City of Los Angeles where he was responsible for a budget of $8.6 billion and oversaw five city departments. Rick also spent 15 years as City Manager of two Southern California cities, Ventura and Azusa.

As Santa Monica’s City Manager, Mr. Cole is responsible for leading one of California’s most successful and progressive full-service cities.  With a AAA bond rating from all three major public credit rating agencies and an annual budget of more than $700 million, Santa Monica’s award-winning services and programs are delivered by a staff of nearly 2300.

Rick received a degree in American Studies from Occidental College in 1978 and earned a Master's Degree in Journalism from Columbia University in 1979.

 
Katie_300PxWKatie Lichtig - Assistant City Manager/Chief Operating Officer

katie.lichtig@smgov.net

In the Assistant City Manager/Chief Operating Officer position, Katie is tasked with coordinating departmental leadership to proactively and reactively respond to issues City-wide. This includes regularly conferring with the public through outreach meetings and engagements with a myriad of stakeholders including outside agencies and civic groups. Katie also attends City Council meetings on a regular basis and acts as a liaison between City Council and the City Manager’s Office.

In the absence of the City Manager, Katie is also tasked with taking on the roles and responsibilities of that position.

Katie returned to Santa Monica in 2017 after serving as City Manager for the City of San Luis Obispo and holding leadership positions in Malibu and Beverly Hills. She had previously served as Santa Monica’s Assistant to the City Manager for Management Services from 1992-2001. Katie holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Syracuse University and a BA in Political Science from UC Davis. 

 

Anuj_300PxwAnuj Gupta - Deputy City Manager

anuj.gupta@smgov.net

As the Deputy City Manager, Anuj is deeply involved in the executive leadership at City of Santa Monica. While involved in day-to-day operations at the City, Anuj is primarily tasked with spearheading the forward-looking policies and initiatives for an innovative and progressive municipal government. The most substantial initiatives Anuj is tasked with are defined under Council’s Strategic Goals.

During the implementation of the Strategic Goals, Anuj will be working with intergovernmental agencies, community partnerships, neighborhoods, businesses, educational institutions, and other stakeholders to accomplish the goals set by City Council. Anuj is also overseeing the City’s efforts to transition to a Performance Management model to better oversee resource disbursements for future programs and projects.

Anuj previously served in the administrations of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as the General Counsel in the Office of Immigrant Affairs and under President Barack Obama as an Associate Staff Secretary. Anuj holds a BA in Public Policy from Stanford and graduated from NYU School of Law. 

 

Debbie_300PxWDebbie Lee - Chief Communications Officer

debbie.lee@smgov.net

In the capacity of Chief Communications Officer, Debbie is the City’s chief spokesperson and oversees the Office of Communications. Debbie and her team manage the City’s integrated communication strategy which includes everything from print publications to web management, including social media. In the event of media coverage, Debbie will coordinate the City’s response across departments and personnel.

Debbie develops and maintains media relations to ensure optimal coverage of City programs, special events, public announcements, and other projects. Working closely with the City Manager and City Attorney, Debbie also manages the contracts for federal and state lobbyists and tracks issues or pending legislation pertaining to the City or Council.

Debbie joined the City of Santa Monica after holding executive leadership positions at Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. and the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau. Debbie studied English Literature at UC Riverside.

 
Lindsay_300PxWLindsay Barker – Chief Resilience Officer  

lindsay.barker@smgov.net

In the capacity of Chief Resilience Officer, Lindsay is responsible for leading the efforts of the Office of Emergency Management, which includes Public Safety Dispatch and Emergency Preparedness. In the event of any type of emergency, natural or manmade, Lindsay’s team will be directing the City’s resources in response.

For the days we are fortunate enough not to have a disaster, Lindsay is preparing and overseeing proactive efforts to mitigate future disasters. This includes creating disaster recovery plans for residents, businesses, employees, and with other agencies. Lindsay coordinates with local, state, and federal agencies on a regular basis to ensure that Santa Monica is prepared for any type of disaster at all times.

Lindsay previously worked for Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, where she held the position of Director of Emergency Management and Public Safety. She holds a BA in International Service at American University and a Master’s Degree in Public Health from UCLA. 

 
Tim_300PxWTim Dodd - Chief Performance Officer

tim.dodd@smgov.net

As the Chief Performance Officer, Tim works with every department to implement the newly created Performance Management model. In this capacity, Tim works closely with department liaisons to identify outcomes and metrics that can be tracked as indicators of the City’s performance on a variety of issues. Then based on metrics collected, Tim can update and improve the Performance Management model to better track the distribution of resources to programs and projects.

Tim actively trains staff throughout the City to serve as liaisons within their department to help build a solid base of users to contribute to the data-driven culture at the City of Santa Monica.

Tim has been responsible for performance management efforts at City of Baltimore as its Performance Manager and has worked on projects for the State of Massachusetts. He holds a Master of Arts in History from Providence College and Doctorate in Law and Policy from Northeastern University. 

 
Julie_300PxWJulie Rusk - Chief of Civic Wellbeing

julie.rusk@smgov.net

In the capacity of Chief of Civic Wellbeing, Julie is responsible for implementing the Wellbeing Index for Santa Monica. Julie oversees the team that is implementing the revolutionary index across the City with input from various stakeholders in Santa Monica.

Her duties include, coordination across various departments, overseeing marketing and data management initiatives associated with wellbeing, and supervising the work of the Office of Wellbeing staff.

Julie is an active member of the community, including a distinguished tenure in the City’s Community & Cultural Services Department. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science from University of Massachusetts Boston. 

 
Christopher_300PxWChristopher J. Smith – Assistant to the City Manager/LGBTQ Liaison   

christopher.j.smith@smgov.net

In the capacity of Assistant to the City Manager, Christopher is responsible for providing administrative support to the City Manager, Assistant City Manager, and Deputy City Manager. This includes overseeing and coordinating the staff report approval process with internal departments for presentation to City Council.

Christopher is also responsible for representing the City Manager’s Office in interdepartmental meetings along with certain boards and commissions, as assigned.

Christopher holds a BA in English and Political Science from University of Washington and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Cal State Long Beach. 

 
Suja_300PxWSuja Lowenthal - Senior Advisor to the City Manager on Airport Affairs

suja.lowenthal@smgov.net

As the Senior Advisor to the City Manager on Airport Affairs, Suja is tasked with leading all efforts pertaining to the Santa Monica Airport. Suja is actively building relationships with local and federal representatives to facilitate a resolution to the airport space.

Working closely with the Office of Communications, Suja prioritizes media opportunities and contributes to talking points, speeches, and presentations used by executive leadership. If the occasion calls for it, Suja is also enabled to serve as the City Manager’s representative at community groups, boards, commissions, and inter-departmental working groups.

Suja was most recently the Community and Government Engagement Manager for BBB. Before working for BBB, she served the community of Long Beach, CA as a councilmember. She has a BA in Economics from UCLA, a Master's degree in Business Administration from Cal State LA, and a Policy and Development Doctorate from USC.  

 
Alisa_300PxWAlisa Orduña - Senior Advisor to the City Manager on Homelessness

alisa.orduna@smgov.net

As the Senior Advisor to the City Manager on Homelessness, Alisa is responsible for playing a leadership role in coordinating services to the homeless population in Santa Monica. Alisa works with local, state, and federal agencies to ensure that Santa Monica has the resources to service the homeless and help alleviate the on-going issue.

Working closely with the Office of Communications, Alisa will coordinate community outreach strategies along with media requests as they relate to homelessness. Alisa may also serve as the City Manager’s representative at community group meetings, boards, commissions and inter-departmental working groups.

Alisa most recently served as the Director of Homelessness Policy under Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s homeless cabinet. She holds a BA in English from Xavier University of Louisiana and a Master's degree in Public and International Affairs from University of Pittsburg. She holds an additional Master's degree in Psychology and is pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy from Pacifica Graduate Institute. 

 

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