City Attorney

City of Rockville, MD | Full-time

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The Position

The City of Rockville, Maryland, is seeking an experienced attorney to serve as its next City Attorney. The new City Attorney will have the opportunity to lead a team of dedicated, knowledgeable legal professionals and work in a community with an exceptionally high quality of life.

The City Attorney is the legal advisor to the Mayor and Council, City Manager, staff, and members of the City’s Boards and Commissions. The City Attorney attends all Council meetings, and the Attorney’s Office provides support for the Boards and Commissions as needed. The City Attorney represents the City in state and federal courts and before state and federal administrative agencies, in addition to drafting ordinances, resolutions, statutes, contracts, leases, deeds, and other legal documents. The City Attorney participates as a member of the City’s Senior Management Team.

The City Attorney oversees all personnel within the City Attorney’s Office and is responsible for all talent acquisition and performance management matters, developing the Office’s annual budget, and planning and assigning work.

The Organization

Incorporated in 1860, the City of Rockville operates under the council-manager form of government. Rockville’s governing body includes the Mayor and four members of City Council, all of whom are elected at-large to four-year terms. All elected officials within the City are nonpartisan. A City Manager is appointed by Council to oversee the day-to-day operations of the organization and all City personnel, with the exception of other officials appointed by Council and employees in the City Attorney’s Office. The City Council also appoints the City Attorney and City Clerk/Director of Council Operations.

The City operates with a well-defined set of financial policies, including a requirement for a minimum General Fund balance of 20%. The City is an annual recipient of the Government Finance Officers Association’s Budget and Financial Reporting “Award of Excellence.” Rockville has maintained an enviable AAA bond rating.

For FY 2021, the City has an adopted operating budget of approximately $140.2 Million (all funds) with a General Fund of $83.6 Million. The City has a well-developed Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) that annually funds programs for a range of projects in transportation, utilities, recreation and parks, stormwater management, and general government improvements. The City currently has a total of 622 FTEs (a combination of regular and temporary).

The City Attorney’s Office

The City Attorney’s Office is dedicated to providing expert legal advice and skilled legal support to the Mayor and Council, the City’s Boards and Commissions, and the City’s staff on all legal matters affecting the City. The City Attorney’s Office strives to provide proactive counsel, preventive advice, and early intervention to assist the City in developing a clear understanding of all of its legal options.

The City Attorney’s Office has a total of seven (7) FTEs, including the City Attorney. The Office’s total FY 2021 budget is $1.4 Million.

The goal of the City Attorney’s Office is to provide expert legal advice and skilled legal support to the Mayor and Council, Boards and Commissions, and City departments. The performance of the City Attorney’s Office is measured annually through several outcomes.

Performance Measure: Adopted FY 2021 Target

  • Number of ordinances reviewed and/or prepared (30)
  • Number of contracts reviewed and/or prepared (325)
  • Number of development-related agreements reviewed and/or prepared (85)
  • Number of administrative appeals active in court (8)
  • Number of municipal infractions filed in court (30)
  • Number of Mayor and Council and Boards and Commissions meetings attended (100)
  • Number of MPIAs and subpoenas requesting documents (90)
  • Percent of code enforcement referrals reviewed within ten working days of receipt (Target = 85%)
  • Percent of form contracts reviewed within ten working days of receipt when received complete with all necessary attachments (Target = 85%)

Experience and Education

The minimum qualifications include a J.D. from an accredited law school, at least seven (7) years of experience practicing law, including some general municipal law and supervisory/management experience. Applicants must also be a member in good standing of the Maryland State Bar or be eligible to practice law in Maryland upon appointment.

Preferred qualifications include experience in local government law and/or litigation and legal expertise in land use, redevelopment, municipal utilities, environment, labor and employment, legislative, contracts, public safety, racial and social justice initiatives, and public finance. A successful track record as a City or County Attorney, Deputy/Assistant Attorney, or experience in a private law firm advising City/County clients is preferred.

Residency within the City of Rockville is not required.

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate will be an experienced attorney who has the highest level of integrity, provides exceptional legal advice and interpretation, understands how to carry out public policy passed by the Mayor and Council, and has a demonstrated track record in working collaboratively with talented staff. The next City Attorney will be knowledgeable in local government law and provides sound and practical advice with the bigger picture in mind of the overall vision set forth by the City. The ideal City Attorney will have a proven track record in developing a strategy for defensible positions as well as be proactive in asserting the City’s position through well-crafted legislation and regulations. The ideal candidate will have hands-on experience in all aspects of local government law, including zoning and land use, as well as experience working on employment law, civil rights law, contracts, public finance, and working with state and federal laws and regulatory agencies.

The next City Attorney will work cooperatively and in partnership with the City Manager and be a partner in developing creative options to solve complex local government problems grounded in sound legal advice. The next City Attorney will be strong enough to stand up to pressure and be undeterred in providing unpopular advice when needed. The ideal candidate will be an exceptional listener, able to succinctly distill complex legal issues, and provide options for overcoming obstacles. The ideal candidate will be decisive, unflappable, confident, and a skilled negotiator. The City Attorney will be politically astute, apolitical, responsive, tech-savvy, and have excellent prioritization skills. The ideal City Attorney will bring patience, fresh ideas, proven expertise, and a strong sense of ethics to the position.

The successful candidate is an advocate for staff and fully committed to the success of their team and the Rockville community as a whole. This individual has demonstrated experience leading internal teams and managing outside counsel. They have the ability to successfully interpret and carry out public policy, all while maintaining a sense of humor. The next City Attorney has exceptional judgment, critical thinking, and research skills and is comfortable working in a fast-paced environment. The City Attorney shares the City’s commitment to diversity and equity and cultivates an inclusive work environment. The ideal candidate is also knowledgeable in municipal budget development, strategic planning, and staff development.

The Community

The City of Rockville, population of almost 70,000, is Maryland’s third-largest city, comprising 13 square miles. It is located 12 miles northwest of the nation’s capital along the I-270 biotech corridor, rich in technology-based businesses. Money magazine ranked Rockville as “the best place to live in Maryland” in its 2017 list of best places to live in all 50 states, noting its “low unemployment and an ultralow crime rate.” In 2016, Livability.com named Rockville the number one city in which to raise a family. Schools and diversity were named among the reasons for the ranking.

The City serves as the County seat of Montgomery County, one of the most affluent and well-educated counties in the United States. Rockville embraces diverse cultures and an engaged citizenry. Recent data from the 2010 Census indicates the City continues to reflect the growing diversity of the metropolitan Washington region with sizeable Asian, Hispanic, and African American populations.

Rockville serves as a residential, employment, and economic center for Montgomery County, with a daytime labor force of over 80,000. Rockville is home to a vibrant downtown, a regional shopping district, and a biotech hub. The City has a well-developed transportation network, with easy access to the metropolitan area. Two strategically located Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Red Line rail stations are in the City, and one additional Metro subway station is located just outside its border. The City is also within convenient driving distance of the Thurgood Marshall International, Ronald Reagan National, and Dulles International airports.

The City’s many residential neighborhoods include a range of housing from well-preserved historic homes of Victorian style in designated historic districts to multi-family buildings in Rockville’s Town Center.

The City’s downtown includes the Rockville Town Center, a vibrant mixed-use area in the heart of Rockville with pedestrian-friendly streets and plazas, numerous restaurants and stores, the Rockville Memorial Library, a business incubator, and VisArts (a community center for the arts), making the Town Center a lively attraction for residents and visitors alike.

Employment and Economic Development

Rockville’s location in the metropolitan area provides the City a strong base of government employees who work for local, state, and federal government.

Rockville has built an impressive and diverse base of private-sector employment, including major high technology and biomedical companies. In addition, employers of all sizes find Rockville to be a hub for innovation and creativity. Rockville’s largest employers include internationally recognized names such as Westat, BAE Systems, Choice Hotels International, and Meso Scale Diagnostics.

The City’s economic base is enhanced through the efforts of Rockville Economic Development Incorporated (REDI) and the Maryland Women’s Business Center, as well as the Rockville Innovation Center, which provides more than 23,000 square feet of flexible office space to accommodate international, professional service, and advanced technology companies.

Parks and Open Space

While the City offers a largely urban environment, Rockville takes great pride in its open space and recreation opportunities. Residents and visitors enjoy approximately 1,035 acres of parkland in 65 parks with a variety of amenities. The City offers an award-winning Senior Center, a municipal swim center and golf course, three neighborhood community recreation centers, and an extensive array of recreation programs.

Education

Rockville residents are served by the exceptional Montgomery County Public Schools, the largest school district in Maryland, and a recipient of the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award in 2010. During the 2020-21 school year, the district served more than 160,500 students from more than 157 countries who speak 138 different languages. Students in the district are among the top performers in the United States in Advanced Placement examinations.

Several institutions of higher education are conveniently located near the City, including Montgomery College (Rockville Campus), Johns Hopkins University (Montgomery County Campus), and the Universities of Shady Grove (a collaboration of nine Maryland public degree-granting institutions).

Quick Facts

  • Population: 68,079 (2019 estimate)
  • Median Household Income: $106,576
  • Median Home Value: $540,000
  • Median Age: 38.7 

All demographic information was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau.  

Compensation

The expected hiring range is $200,000 - $230,000, depending on qualifications and experience, plus exceptional City benefits and an employment agreement.

How to Apply

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. Open until filled with the first review of applications on April 12, 2021.

Questions

Please direct questions to Catherine Tuck Parrish at apply@thenovakconsultinggroup.com or 513-221-0500.

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