The Legal Division represents the City in legal proceedings, provides legal advice to City staff, elected officials, and boards ad commissions, and serves as prosecuting attorney in criminal and certain infraction or violation proceedings in Municipal Court. The Legal Division prepares ordinances, resolutions, contracts criminal complaints, and other legal documents; assists in property transactions, employee grievances and disciplinary actions, union negotiations, and land use matters; and collaborates with attorneys for the City’s insurers on litigation. Legal also occasionally contracts with outside attorneys for specialty legal services. Most of the Legal Division’s work is non-discretionary in that it is dictated primarily by imperatives from other parts of City government, helping them to meet their legal mandates and avoid unproductive legal entanglements. The City Attorney and Assistant City Attorney have independent professional obligations under state bar rules to provide sound, objective legal services.
- Ensuring the continued provision of high-quality legal services after the former City Attorneys have relocated from the office.
- Enabling the recruitment of a competent individual to fill the Assistant City Attorney position, who is performing exceptionally well in the role.
- Preserving the capacity and adaptability to enable other departments to utilize legal staff in the office for various City functions.
- Training on ethics, public meetings, public records, and parliamentary procedure for newly elected and appointed officials.
- Fostering an open and welcoming environment in the office that encourages effective communication with its clients who are the City’s elected and appointed officials, staff, and personnel.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
- Ensure that legal advice and advocacy provided on behalf of the City and the Parks and Recreation Commission are timely, accurate, precise and uniform.
- Ensure that City operations and activities comply with all legal requirements, and that potential legal consequences of prospective decisions are identified in advance.
- Give early consideration to alternatives for resolving potential legal disputes.
- Efficiently and equitably prosecute code violations (when defendants have legal counsel) and misdemeanors in Municipal and Circuit Courts.
- Ensure that public contracting procedures are consistently followed by all departments.
- Anticipated legislation.
- Provide support and advisement to a new city council.
- Activities that are overdue, such as updating ordinances, revising procurement policies, enhancing systems for improving legal responses to public records, and establishing clear legal processes for citizens to engage with the City regarding the City’s and citizens respective obligations and responsibilities.