Capturing the Rhythm of
Downtown Santa Monica
Santa Monica Centric
Former City Hall staffer picked to be second in command
By Kevin Herrera

City Manager Rick Cole has selected Katie Lichtig to join him in leading the City of Santa Monica as assistant city manager/chief operating officer, it was announced in early August.


After a rigorous national search, Lichtig returns to Santa Monica where she began her career in local government as the assistant to the city manager for management services from 1992 to 2001. She has served as the city manager for San Luis Obispo for the past seven-and-a-half years, and before that in leading positions with the cities of Malibu and Beverly Hills.


“I sought out Katie because I knew about her achievements and skills in public administration. After a rigorous process with stiff competition Katie rose to the top,” Cole said. “I am certain Katie is going to do great things in Santa Monica and I look forward to establishing a wonderful partnership with her as we create a 21st Century government.”


The position was retitled to more accurately describe the role of assistant city manager, which is responsible for ensuring the effective operations of an organization of 11 departments and 2,300 staff, and as the hub for the City’s leadership team. The chief operating officer will spearhead strategic and operational planning and performance management for City Hall.


“I am thrilled to re-join the team in Santa Monica,” Lichtig said. “The community and city staff are tackling important issues and it is exciting for me to be a part of the innovation and change that is envisioned. I look forward to bringing my skills, experience and knowledge of Santa Monica to help the team make the vision for a 21st Century city a reality.”





As city manager, Lichtig saw the City of San Luis Obispo through the Great Recession and made contributions, including: 

• Leveraging existing funding to expand open space;
• Developing a public engagement manual and enhancing community participation through technology;
• Enhancing knowledge and confidence in the use of local sales tax measure revenues which resulted in passage of a renewal measure by more than 70 percent of voters in 2014;
• Overseeing major infrastructure improvements, including the Los Osos Valley Road Overpass expansion and a new skate park;
• Leading the Coalition of Cities to help ensure the regional and local economy remained strong after the closure of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant;
• Working with community partners to fund construction of the 40 Prado Road Homeless Services Center; and
• Supporting an organizational culture that values collaboration, teamwork and caring for the community and each other. 
• During her nearly decade-long tenure with the City of Santa Monica, Lichtig helped recovery efforts after the Northridge Earthquake and was instrumental in building the Public Safety Facility.


Lichtig has vast experience with neighboring communities. She served as assistant city manager/chief operating officer for the City of Beverly Hills (2006 – 2010) and city manager for the City of Malibu (2001 – 2006). 


Lichtig has a master’s in Public Administration from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Davis. She will begin in early October.


—    This article was repurposed from a City of Santa Monica news release.


Kevin Herrera is a former journalist turned marketing and communication expert, beer enthusiast, cyclist, cultural observer/commentator and expert on all things Downtown Santa Monica. He is currently the sr. marketing & communication manager for Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.