Susan McCarthy, Santa Monica city manager since 1999, is retiring. She informed the Santa Monica City Council Monday, August 1st, that she would stay on the job until November.

“The challenges and rewards of this job have shaped my life for the past six years,” she said. “While I considered staying one more year, in particular to help advance our work on homelessness and youth violence prevention, I am determined to retire at 60 as I had long hoped.”

During McCarthy’s tenure as city manager, Santa Monica dealt with the post 9-11 economic downturn and maintained its Triple A bond rating.

The city also made plans for a new civic center, constructed new public facilities, funded new parks, made renovations to existing parks and raised taxes on hotel rooms.

McCarthy also was in charge of several efforts to improve customer service at City Hall, including streamlining the permit process.

“This has been a remarkable and challenging period in Santa Monica’s history and we are fortunate to have a person of Susan McCarthy’s caliber at the helm,” said Santa Monica mayor Pam O’Connor.

“She is a consummate professional, ethical, smart, hard working, with a genuine desire to serve the people of Santa Monica,” O’Connor said.

McCarthy was appointed city manager in November 1999 after serving as the assistant city manager for the previous five years.

Her 24-year career with the City of Santa Monica also included service as:

– director of Community and Cultural Services, 1992 to 1996;

– director of Personnel, 1981 to 1985;

– assistant director of Administrative Services, 1979 to 1981;

– administrator of Human Resources, 1976 to 1979; and

– administrative analyst for Transportation and Administrative Services, 1975 to 1976.

From 1986 to 1992, she was on the staff of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

McCarthy has a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree from the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California.

The City Council will make an appointment for an interim city manager before a permanent replacement is found.

McCarthy and her husband, Kevin McCarthy, who works for the RAND Corporation, are Santa Monica residents.

“I look forward to traveling with my husband, whose work takes him across the country, spending more time with my parents on the East Coast and enjoying Santa Monica, a truly wonderful community in which I live,” McCarthy said.

“The council and I wish her all the best in retirement,” O’Connor said. “I completely understand Susan’s desire.