Santa Monica votes to hire Montebello city manager but will he take job?

Santa Monica’s City Council voted on Tuesday, June 8 to hire Montebello City Manager Rene Bobadilla as its new city manager.

But Santa Monica still has to negotiate a contract, and Montebello Councilwoman Angie Jimenez said by phone Wednesday she wants the council to do everything it can to keep Bobadilla.

“We have absolutely the best city manager,” Jimenez said.

“Right now, he’s a coveted city manager,” she said. “This means we need to do everything we can to hold on to him.”

Jimenez said she hasn’t talked to Bobadilla about the Santa Monica vote but doesn’t believe he has accepted the offer. Bobadilla could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

At its Wednesday, June 9 meeting, Montebello council members are expected to discuss Bobadilla’s current contract, which could be an avenue to extend a new offer to convince him to stay.

In a statement posted to the Santa Monica city website, Mayor Sue Himmelrich called Bobadilla an experienced city manager with more than a decade of experience leading cities in eastern Los Angeles County

That experience “will allow him to hit the ground running on our community priorities of a safe and clean Santa Monica, addressing homelessness, and an equitable and inclusive economic recovery,” Himmelrich wrote.

“Rene is an extremely affable and energetic leader who has a deep grasp of complex fiscal management and municipal operations,” she said. “The council very much looks forward to the community and the talented city team getting to know City Manager Bobadilla in the weeks and months to come.”

Santa Monica’s council initially voted 5-1 for the hire, but the one holdout, Councilwoman Gleam Davis, changed her vote to yes.

Phone calls were made to the other four Montebello council members seeking comment. None so far has been returned.

Bobadilla came to Montebello in June 2019, 15 months after he was forced to resign from he same job in Pico Rivera.

Bobadilla succeeds Lane Dilg, who was appointed interim city manager for Santa Monica in April 2020. Dilg took over after Rick Cole resigned.

Santa Monica’s council also voted to hire its former City Manager John Jalili as interim city manager. Jalili will transition into the role soon and will officially hold the post upon Interim City Manager Lane Dilg’s departure June 24.

Since coming to Montebello, Bobadilla has balanced the city’s budget and made other improvements, council members said in July, after giving him nearly 4.2% pay raise, amounting to $10,000 and increasing his annual salary to $250,000.

Before he came to Montebello,  a state audit concluded the city’s finances were precarious. Bobadilla succeeded two interim city managers who took over when City Manager Francesca Tucker-Schuyler was first placed on indefinite leave in November 2017.

Bobadilla came to Pico Rivera in 2014 from Huntington Park, where he was city manager for nearly two years.

He was city manager of El Monte from Jan. 19, 2010, to Sept. 3, 2012. He was hired as interim city manager in El Monte three months prior to his appointment as city manager. El Monte first hired Bobadilla in January 2008 as public works maintenance superintendent and was promoted to deputy city manager in April 2009.

Prior to being hired by El Monte, Bobadilla worked as a civil engineer for the County of Los Angeles.

He was born and raised in El Monte and graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a bachelor’s degree in science.

Santa Monica votes to hire Montebello city manager but will he take job?