Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Wednesday, Oct. 20 @ 11:58 a.m. / Local Government

Crescent City Councilors to Seek Full-Time City Attorney

Crescent City Councilors on Monday agreed to seek a full-time city attorney who will be able to offer 1,000 hours of additional work for the city and will report directly to them.

Before the discussion, the city’s current legal counsel, Martha Rice, of the Crescent City law firm Black and Rice, recused herself, saying she wouldn’t be available for questions or advice because she intends to apply for the full-time position.

The recommendation to hire a city attorney came out of a reorganization plan Councilors approved on April 15, 2021, according to City Manager Eric Wier. A full-time city attorney would give the city several benefits it currently doesn’t have, he said.

Though she’s done a good job, Wier said, Rice works for the city on an as-needed basis.

“If we were to take on a full-time city attorney this would give us another 1,000 hours is what we figured of her time in a given year,” Wier said. “Right now (Rice) is working for us about 1,000 hours. Right now a full-time city employee works about 2,080 hours, so this would double the amount of time.”

According to Wier, a full-time city attorney will help with code enforcement efforts as well as general day-to-day issues. A full-time attorney will also help with things the city hasn’t “dealt with,” he said.

“There are so many items that we just don’t get to because there’s so many other things,” Wier said. “If we had a city attorney on staff, they could evaluate those things, they could address them and they would probably save us some liability that we don’t even know are out there right now.”

The city’s human resources director, Sunny Valero, will be in charge of recruiting the new full-time legal counsel.

According to Valero, recruitment opened on Wednesday and will close Nov. 19.

The City Council will work with Wier and Valero to interview candidates for the position likely next month. According to the city’s staff report, the Council could choose to invite additional people to participate in the interview process. Councilors may also choose to offer the position to a selected candidate, invite one or more candidate back for additional interviews or reject all applicants.

The proposed salary range for a full-time city attorney starts at $99,281 annually. The position carries a maximum annual salary of $124,468, according to the staff report.


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