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Interim City Attorney Cardona Hired by California Bar

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By Jorge Casuso

August 27, 2021 -- Interim Santa Monica City Attorney George Cardona has been named chief trial counsel by the California Bar Association, City officials confimed Friday.

Cardona was chosen to fill the $284,000 a year post, which has been vacant since 2018, after a lengthy closed session meeting, reported Friday. No start date has been set.

"I am honored by the appointment and look forward to getting to work," Cardona said in a brief email to the legal website.

Mayor Sue Himmelrich said the news was unexpected.

"This came totally out of the blue," said Himmelrich who spoke with Cardona Friday. "He didn't expect this to happen so soon."

Himmelrich called Cardona -- who has headed the City Attorneys office since April 2020 -- a "great lawyer" and a "decent person" who will be difficult to replace.

"We will be challenged to find someone as talented as a lawyer," said Himmelrich, who is social justice attorney at the Western Center on Law & Poverty.

Cardona was tapped to fill the City's top legal post when former City Attorney Lane Dilg was hired as interim City Manager in April 2020.

He joined the City in February 2018 as chief of staff and special counsel after working for 16 years in leadership roles for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

During his tenure, he participated in many of the federal government’s most important cases in the region, City officials said when he was hired.

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