After more than a decade as the Santa Monica director of planning and community development, Suzanne Frick has resigned to become Long Beach director of planning and building effective Monday, April 18th.
Andy Agle, Santa Monica Planning and Community Development Department assistant director, has been appointed city interim planning director until a permanent replacement for Frick is appointed.
Santa Monica city manager Susan McCarthy said recruitment and selection of a permanent replacement for Frick will begin soon.
“Late Friday (March 11th), I accepted with regret Suzanne Frick’s resignation,” McCarthy said. “Suzanne’s institutional memory and dedication are a loss for Santa Monica.”
Frick, joined the City of Santa Monica in 1983 as an associate planner and became planning director in 1994.
“I really loved working in Santa Monica,” Frick said. “It’s an absolutely wonderful community, but after 21 years I’m ready for a new challenge.”
Long Beach picked Frick after an “extensive, nationwide recruitment,” according to Long Beach city officials.
Frick will bring solid municipal planning and permitting experience to her position in Long Beach, officials in that city said.
Frick said her new job in Long Beach will offer different responsibilities.
In Santa Monica, she was in charge of planning, building and transportation management, but the Long Beach job deals only with planning and building issues.
As planning director for Long Beach, Frick will be responsible for planning and overseeing the physical development and revitalization of the city.
Her responsibilities as Santa Monica planning director involved managing a multidisciplinary staff, administering planning and building codes and analyzing and solving complex land use issues.
While Frick said she is prepared for the new challenges in Long Beach, she will leave Santa Monica “with mixed emotions.”
“I will really miss the talented and dedicated people I work with every day,” she said. “That’s what makes Santa Monica the great and wonderful place that it is.”
Santa Monica Councilman Kevin McKeown, who has served on the council since 1998, said Frick demonstrated “consistent understanding of both proposed project details and bigger picture policy contexts.”
“As our planning director, Suzanne was efficient, knowledgeable and possessed the kind of institutional memory few cities get to enjoy, because planning leaders rarely dedicate 21 years of their career to one community,” he said.
As Frick embarks on her next job, she said a critical challenge for the Santa Monica Planning Department is to complete the update of the land use and circulation elements of the city General Plan.
Another challenge for the department is to improve its permitting, plan check and inspection processes, she said.
Frick said that whoever takes over the demanding job of city planning director will have the chance to serve in a “dynamic and great community.”
“It’s been one of the most exciting and rewarding times of my life,” Frick said of her experience in Santa Monica.