City Attorney

City of Lake Oswego, OR | Full-time

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Position

The City Attorney is the chief legal counsel for the City of Lake Oswego and is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the City Council. As the primary legal counsel, the City Attorney provides sound legal advice to the Council and departments on significant policy, project, and financial matters, attends all regular City Council meetings, and drafts or reviews ordinances, orders, and resolutions that come before the City Council. Work is performed under the direction of the City Council. In addition, the City Attorney advises the City Manager and City departments on legal affairs of the City, drafting and reviewing contracts, agreements, letters, and other legal documents.

The City Attorney leads the City Attorney’s Office with a biennial budget of $1.7M and is responsible for appointing and supervising the staff, which includes the Deputy City Attorney, Legal Assistant, and Legal Secretary. Legal services to the City include land use matters, public contracting, real estate transactions, labor and employment law, municipal finance, and general municipal law. The office also prosecutes misdemeanor crimes, City code violations, and state traffic offenses in the Lake Oswego Municipal Court. The office currently contracts for City Prosecutor services and the City Attorney will as needed and approved by Council, contract with and supervise other outside counsels. The City Attorney’s Office also provides legal services to the Lake Oswego Redevelopment (Urban Renewal) Agency.

Priorities

  • Develop and maintain positive relationships with the Mayor and City Council. Establish trust, ensure effective communication, and proactively provide sound legal advice.
  • Develop an understanding of our organization, current culture, structure, and initiatives.
  • Effectively partner with the City Manager and develop strong working relationships with department directors to understand operational issues that may have legal implications and where departments need legal assistance.
  • Quickly come up to speed on all legal aspects of current projects and initiatives. Successfully partner with the Deputy City Attorney and outside counsels to provide complex advice and sound legal positions on ongoing projects, intergovernmental agreements, and litigation to ensure the City remains on solid legal ground.
  • Maintain a collaborative team environment, provide consistent leadership, delegate appropriately, and most importantly, empower staff. Strategically plan and proactively prepare for future staffing needs.

Successful Candidate

The new City Attorney has the ability to quickly understand the values of Lake Oswego and is comfortable working in a community accustomed to high-quality municipal services and a tradition of community involvement. The successful candidate maintains objectivity and supports sound legal decisions while remaining solutions-oriented. The City Attorney demonstrates a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as a key organizational value and is committed to contributing to a culture that fosters belonging. 

The successful candidate is apolitical yet politically astute, with a strong history of developing effective relationships with the Mayor and City Council to provide sound legal advice and interpretation. With unquestioned integrity and sound ethics, the City Attorney is considered a thought partner dedicated to public service and works in the best interest of the City at all times.

With an inclusive and approachable style, the City Attorney develops positive relationships throughout the City, establishing a high level of trust and actively collaborating with others to achieve objectives. The successful candidate partners with legal staff to develop creative options while still providing sound legal advice to complex local government problems. A confident leader, the City Attorney navigates controversial issues with ease and is strong enough to stand up to pressure and provide unpopular advice when needed. 

The City Attorney has substantial local government law experience and leverages that knowledge to anticipate issues and proactively mitigate risk. The ideal candidate is intellectually curious with a proven track record in developing strategies for legally sound positions. Considered an active listener, the successful candidate is an effective communicator and promotes clear and concise communication to reduce ambiguity. While maintaining a commitment to high-quality work, the City Attorney appreciates and has a good sense of humor, with the ability to laugh.

Qualifications

A minimum of five years in the practice of municipal law, ideally with a successful track record as a City Attorney, Deputy City Attorney, or experience in a private law firm advising municipal governments with a full range of municipal services, or a similar role in an equivalent type of organization, in order to successfully fulfill the requirements of the City.

The successful candidate is a member of the Oregon State Bar, ideally for a minimum of five years, with emphasis and experience in one or more specialty areas, such as: land use, urban renewal, real property, public meetings and records, public contracts, and civil and administrative law relating to municipal governments. Experience with court processes and procedures, including at the appellate level, is preferred. The ability to be bonded in accordance with City standards is required.

City of Lake Oswego

The City of Lake Oswego operates a council-manager form of government, which vests policy authority in a seven-member volunteer City Council and administrative authority for day-to-day operations in an appointed, professional City Manager. The City Council is the governing body of Lake Oswego, and the citizens elect members at large. The Mayor and Councilors are elected to four-year terms. The Charter provides that the term of office for the Mayor and Councilors will not exceed a period of eight consecutive years. At least three Council positions are up for election every two years. 

The City of Lake Oswego is a full-service city providing excellent services through the following departments: City Manager’s Office; City Attorney; Engineering; Facilities Management; Finance; Fire; Human Resources; Information Technology; Library; Municipal Court; Parks and Recreation; Planning and Building Services; Police; Public Works; and the Redevelopment Agency. The City employs 325 full-time and part-time employees with a 2019-21 adopted budget of $392 million with a general fund of $153.5 million.

City of Lake Oswego Organizational Chart and 2019-21 Adopted Budget

Lake Oswego Community

The City of Lake Oswego has a population of 39,480 and is a community rich with art, culture, historical resources, quality schools, vibrant business districts, and an abundance of activities and events for all ages.

Located in the northwestern corner of Clackamas County, on the banks of the scenic Willamette River and hugging the shore of a 405-acre lake, Lake Oswego is nestled among many of Oregon’s greatest attractions: Mount Hood, the Oregon Coast, the Columbia Gorge and nearby vineyards, farmlands, and forests. Lake Oswego is also ideally situated close to Oregon’s major metropolitan areas – just eight miles south of downtown Portland and about 40 miles north of the state capitol in Salem. 

Like other communities in Oregon, Lake Oswego is becoming more diverse. Creating a more equitable, inclusive, and welcoming Lake Oswego is part of the City’s work and is vital for our community’s future. Lake Oswego will be more prosperous and livable overall if everyone has access to opportunities – from a fulfilling job to a world-class education to vibrant arts and a beautiful natural environment.

Lake Oswego is a community of well-respected residential neighborhoods. Residents of Lake Oswego have high expectations for outstanding City services, programs, and amenities. Although the City is primarily residential, there is some light manufacturing and commercial development. Most businesses are located downtown near the Willamette River or in the Lake Grove business district and neighborhood. Commercial properties on Kruse Way, near the interstate highway, offer some of the best Class A office space in the region.

The City of Lake Oswego values and supports education, recognizing that quality education is good for the social and economic interests of the community. Lake Oswego is proud that the schools consistently rate among the best in the state and are nationally recognized. Residents have access to a variety of high-quality educational opportunities that provide for lifelong learning, including: the Lake Oswego School District (LOSD), private primary and secondary schools, and close proximity to Lewis and Clark College and Portland Community College Sylvania campus.

The City has over 600 acres of developed park property, undeveloped and passive parks lands, and natural parks and opens spaces, including 45 acres of recreation facilities. With a growing system of pathways around the community, each loop is designed to connect neighborhoods with schools, parks, and commercial centers. These pathways are multi-use and shared by walkers, runners, bikers, and pets. There is a City-owned sports center and amphitheater on the Willamette River, a public swimming facility on the privately managed Oswego Lake, an 18-hole golf course, a working farm, and an indoor tennis center. These amenities, managed by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, help promote Lake Oswego as a place to live where you play.

The City sponsors numerous community events throughout the year. The Farmers’ Market, Summer Concerts, Movies in the Park, Fourth of July Celebration, Festival of the Arts, and Tree Lighting Ceremony are some of the free events available to the public. Be entertained, celebrate with your neighbors, and meet new friends in Lake Oswego.

Compensation and Benefits

The City Attorney contract is at the discretion of the City Council with a salary range of $142,300 – $172,966 and will depend on the qualifications of the successful candidate. The City of Lake Oswego encourages a healthy work-life balance and offers a wide range of benefits as part of your total compensation package.

How to Apply

The City of Lake Oswego is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. Minorities, women, and qualified individuals with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. If you wish modification of the selection process in order to accommodate a disability, please make your request in writing and submit it with your required materials.

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. Please apply no later than February 7, 2021.

Please direct questions to Heather Gantz at hgantz@thenovakconsultinggroup.com or 513-221-0500.

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