The goals of the Legal Department are to provide legal guidance to ensure that all City functions are conducted in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and to protect the interests of the City through the preparation of sound ordinances, contracts, and other official documents, as well as the successful prosecution and defense of lawsuits.
The City Attorney is hired directly by City Council and serves pursuant to a contract approved by City Council. The City Attorney is evaluated annually by City Council. The duties of the City Attorney are set forth by City Charter Article III, Section 13. The City Attorney and Senior Staff Attorney are both full-time members of the City's staff. Their duties include the preparation, review, and interpretation of ordinances, resolutions, and contracts; the provision of legal support to the City Manager, staff, and boards and commissions; and the management of any litigation in which the City may be involved. Some legal services are provided by outside attorneys, including certain areas of litigation and liability issues handled by the City's insurance carrier.
Citizens and property owners sometimes have questions about how various city regulations may affect them. Local laws, known as ordinances, are adopted by City Council and made part of the City Code (Code of Ordinances). If you have questions involving matters such as traffic and parking regulations, or the keeping of animals, the answer is most likely in the City Code. Please note that professional rules of ethics prevent the Legal Department staff from giving legal advice to the general public.