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Santa Monica Airport Advisor Tapped for Top Hermosa Beach Post


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August 22, 2018 -- Following in the footsteps of Santa Monica City officials who have left to run other cities, airport advisor Suja Lowenthal will take the reins at Hermosa Beach.

After six years in Santa Monica, Lowenthal is expected to be hired by the Hermosa Beach City Council Tuesday as the new City Manager.

She will replace former Santa Monica City Manager John Jalili, who was serving as Hermosa's top official on an interim basis.
Suja Lowenthal

“Suja’s extensive knowledge," said Hermosa Beach Mayor Jeff Duclos, "will be of great benefit to us.

"In addition to her management skills, she is unquestionably one of the most impressive individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting in a long time,” Duclos said.

Lowenthal, who started her career in government in 1991, has been an advisor to the City Manager on airport affairs since 2017 and served as co-chair of the City’s mobility strategic goal.

As Hermosa Beach City manager, Lowenthal will oversee 130 full-time employees and an annual budget of some $40.8 million. If hired by the council, her annual salary will be $219,000.

Lowenthal is the latest in a long line of Santa Monica City officials who have moved on to head other cities.

They include Jeff Mathieu, the City Manager of Big Bear Lake; Suzanne Frick, City Administrator of Ketchum Idaho, and Peggy Curran, the former City Manager of Tiburon.

Katie Lichtig, a former assistant to the Santa Monica City manager, ran the city governments of Malibu, Beverly Hills and San Luis Obispo before returning last year as assistant City Manager ("Katie Lichtig to Return to Santa Monica as Second in Command," August 8, 2017).

Jalili has run several South Bay city governments on an interim basis after retiring as Santa Monica City Manager in 1999.

Lowenthal sees Santa Monica as an ideal stepping stone to top posts in other cities.

"The issues public servants work on here are challenging," Lowenthal said, "and Santa Monica is on a large-city scale."

Before assuming the post of airport advisor, Lowenthal served from 2012 to 2017 as Transit Planning and Community Engagement Manager for the City, where she was responsible for regional intergovernmental transit planning.

She served on the Long Beach City Council from 2006-2016 and as the City’s Vice Mayor from 2010 to 2012 and 2014 to 2016.

She also served as an alternate member of the California Coastal Commission from 2007 to 2009.

Mayor Duclos touted "her experience as a Coastal Commissioner, her work in the fields of transportation, education and water management, and her experience in business development and public/private partnerships."

Having Jalili in Hermosa while she transitions to her first top post will be a big help, Lowenthal said.

"It was amazing good furtune having someone like him there," she said.


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