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Former City Manager to Receive 7 Months Pay After Resigning During Coronavirus Emergency

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By Jorge Casuso

April 24, 2020 -- Former City Manager Rick Cole is poised to collect his $343,000 annual salary over the next seven months after he stepped down from the City's top post last week during the coronavirus emergency.

Cole resigned shortly after proposing that hundreds of Santa Monica City employees be immediately laid off and programs and services slashed ("Cole Resigns as Santa Monica City Manager," April 17, 2020).

He said the cuts were needed to bridge a projected $226 million budget gap by July 2021 due to revenues lost during the coronavirus shutdown ("City Faces $226 Million Budget Gap Due to Coronavirus Shutdown," April 13, 2020.

Under the agreement the City Council is expected to approve Tuesday, Cole -- who took a 20 percent pay cut during the emergency -- will remain on paid administrative leave through July 4, then separate from City employment.

"Mr. Cole’s employment contract provided for 9 months of severance pay," staff said in its report to the Council.

"Under the terms of the agreement, given his time on paid administrative leave, Mr. Cole will receive only 7 months of severance pay."

Under the agreement, Cole will be paid within 30 days after his removal from his City Manager duties, staff wrote in its report.

The Council voted last Saturday to accept Cole's resignation and hire Lane Dilg as interim City Manager ("City Attorney Lane Dilg Tapped to Run Santa Monica During Historic Crisis," April 18, 2020).

She assumed the post on Monday after serving as City attorney since June 2017.

The Council on Tuesday also is expected to approve a $278,332 a year contract with Dilg.

Her proposed salary "represents a 20 percent reduction from the established salary for the City Manager," staff wrote in its report.

"Additionally, the proposed agreement will specify that Ms. Dilg will receive the benefits provided to all members of the City’s Executive Pay Plan," staff said.

It also "will provide for 6 months’ severance pay upon separation from the City by termination or mutual agreement."

Cole served as City Manager since June 29, 2015.

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