Santa Monica City Manager Rod Gould: Retiring Observations

In September 2014, The Planning Report — a Los Angeles-area trade publication — interviewed Santa Monica city manager Rod Gould about Santa Monica’s fiscal health, its development challenges, and its opportunities as Metro light rail connects this city with the greater LA region.

Excerpt: “Five or six years since the recession lifted, the sun looks like it’s coming out in California and across America. But those cities still need to hold their purse strings tight, remain very prudent, and say no much more than they can say yes—in order to not imperil their fiscal stability into the future. That’s bitter medicine.

I’m hopeful that your readers recognize how important cities are to civilization in general, and to us in the great state of California. We have 482 cities, and over 80 percent of Californians live in cities. As go the cities, so goes California, America, and much of the world. The care, feeding, nurturing, and stewardship of cities is pretty darn important, and that’s why I’ve given my career to it.” – Rod Gould, City Manager of Santa Monica

To read the full Rod Gould interview, click here.

Promoting Good Governance Within Your Agency

Santa Monica city manager Rod Gould was featured in the December 2014 article “Promoting Good Governance Within Your Agency” for Western City, the monthly magazine of the League of CA Cities.

Excerpt: The City of Santa Monica beta-tested the Good Governance Checklist. City Manager Rod Gould sat down with department heads and advisory staff to compare their city’s practices with those outlined in the checklist. Gould was pleased to see that they were already engaging in many of the practices listed. Where they weren’t, the checklist served as a catalyst to stimulate discussion about areas where the city could make improvements. Gould says, “For any organization committed to improving its governance practices, this checklist is a great tool to get the process started.”

To read the full article featuring Rod Gould, click here.

Transparency In Local Government: Protecting Your Community Against Corruption

For the December 2010 edition of Western City, the League of California Cities’s monthly magazine, Rod Gould contributed insights to “Transparency In Local Government:Protecting Your Community Against Corruption.”

Excerpt: As events unfolded this past summer about multiple irregularities in the City of Bell, many local officials were understandably shocked and dismayed. Many also experienced the public’s understandable but disheartening question, “If these things happened in Bell, are they also happening in our community?”

Many conscientious and concerned local officials asked a similar question: “What can we do to make sure that what happened in Bell never happens to our community?”

To read the full article, click here.

The League Steps Up on Pension Reform

In 2011, Rod Gould authored “The League Steps Up on Pension Reform” for Western City, the monthly magazine of the League of California Cities.

Intro: “The League board of directors took action on the issue of public pension reform in late July by adopting the City Managers Department Pension Reform Action Plan as League policy. This signaled the League’s willingness to engage directly on an issue that has far-reaching financial, political and labor-relations implications for all cities in California. By adopting the plan’s recommendations, the League is taking a leadership role in advocating responsible public pension reform. This is critically important because public agencies can’t sustain the long-term costs of current pension practices, and action is urgently needed due to the growing momentum of a frontal attack on public employee retirement security, orchestrated by partisan politicians and fueled by media seeking conflict and controversy.”

To read Rod Gould’s full article, click here.

Cal-ICMA Honors Two Members with Ethics Award

Press Release courtesy of ICMA
February 21, 2014

Rod Gould, city manager of Santa Monica, and Doug Willmore, city manager of Bell, were recipients of the 2014 Cal-ICMA Ethics Awards

Rod GouldBoth Rod Gould, city manager of Santa Monica, and Doug Willmore, city manager of Bell, were recognized during the recent Cal-ICMA board meeting at the City Managers’ Department conference in Long Beach.

Rod Gould, who is currently serving as one of ICMA’s West Coast Regional Vice Presidents, was recognized for his work to establish a code of ethics for the staff and elected officials during his tenure with the city of Poway.

Doug Willmore was acknowledged for his work to put the city of Bell back on an ethical track after the crisis in that community. Early in 2013, the Cal-ICMA board approved the guidelines and criteria for this Cal-ICMA awards program.

How to Successfully Recruit a City Manager in the 21st Century

In 2004, Rod Gould and Glenn Southard co-authored “How to Successfully Recruit a City Manager in the 21st Century” for Western City, the monthly magazine of the League of California Cities. This article provided suggestions for elected officials and interim managers seeking to recruit city managers. It also discussed such issues as the shrinking talent pool for local government management, executive recruiters, the interview process, and building successful relationships with new city managers.

To read Rod Gould’s full article, click here.

How are WE Doing? A Public Engagement Evaluation Platform

Rod Gould has served on the board of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University — a think tank focused on promoting civic engagement — for years. In February 2016, the Institute launched a tool to allow local governments to gauge how they are doing in civic engagement and to recognize the ones that are doing advanced work in this emerging area.

For more information on the platform, click here.

Environmental Conference of Arab Entities

In early November 2015, Rod Gould traveled to the United Arab Emirates to represent ICMA by giving a talk on marine conservation and coastal management at a conference put on by the Environmental Conference of Arab Entities. It was held in the Fujairah Emirate and was conducted partly in English and partly in Farsi. Rod Gould at Environmental Conference of Arab Entities

 Rod Gould at Environmental Conference of Arab Entities  Rod Gould at Environmental Conference of Arab Entities

Santa Monica Serves as test Site

In December 2011, Santa Monica Police Chief Tim Jackman announced he would retire early in 2012. As city manager, I was determined to carry out a nationwide search and not be content to simply interview the usual list of candidates.

I had become aware that ICMA was doing work with industrial psychologists on the traits and characteristics that are
essential for police and fire chiefs to be successful in local governments across the United States. This was intriguing to me, and I wanted to be sure that this recruitment was tailored to Santa Monica’s unique needs.

To read the full article click here.

“Lessons Learned From the Witch Creek Fire”

Rod Gould authored “Lessons Learned From the Witch Creek Fire” in 2008 while serving as the City Manager of Pomona. This article went on to win the International Communicator Award – Gold Medal. 

Sunday, Oct. 21, 2007, dawned like any other warm and sunny autumn morning in the City of Poway. However, by noon there was smoke in the air and a reported wildfire between Julian and Ramona, east of Poway. The Red Cross set up an evacuation center at the Poway High School gym. Fire, law enforcement and city officials gathered to assess intelligence about the spread of the fire. After a meeting of the cooperative agencies, our best guess was that fires would enter the City of Poway at 5:00 a.m. the next morning.

To read Rod’s full article click here.