City Attorney

City of Boulder, CO | Full-time

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The Opportunity

The City Attorney is the chief legal counsel for the City of Boulder and serves as the primary legal advisor to the City. This position provides an outstanding opportunity to address a broad variety of complex legal challenges, work closely with elected officials to carry out Council priorities, partner with city leadership, and lead a team of dedicated professionals in service to the Boulder community. This exciting opportunity will allow the successful candidate to provide guidance on cutting-edge topics, including Boulder’s unique land-use policies, pioneering climate action initiatives, complex housing affordability strategies, and public safety reform efforts, to name just a few.

Reporting to the City Council, the City Attorney provides sound legal advice to the Council on significant policy, project, litigation, potential conflicts of interest, and financial matters. The City Attorney attends all City Council meetings and drafts or reviews ordinances, orders, and resolutions issued by the City. The City Attorney engages as a member of the City’s Leadership Team and actively participates in strategic, city-wide discussions. The City Attorney routinely advises city departments on appropriate action for a variety of legal issues, particularly those involving city-wide policies or politically sensitive issues.

The City Attorney leads the City Attorney’s Office through three divisions: Administration, Consultation and Advisory, and Prosecution and Civil Litigation. With a budget of $3.5M, the City Attorney is responsible for hiring, directing, managing, and evaluating a high performing and diverse staff of 15 attorneys and eight paralegals, as well as outside counsel, dedicated to delivering high-quality legal services in a responsive, proactive, creative, equitable, and timely manner.

Priorities

  • Develop and maintain positive relationships with the City Council.
  • Build an environment of trust and cross-departmental cooperation, support open and reflective decision-making, and leverage the team’s collective knowledge and power to provide sound legal advice.
  • Embrace the values of the Boulder community. Develop and maintain a deep understanding of the issues affecting the community, advance creative solutions, and balance political neutrality with recognition of Council and community goals in order to successfully navigate complex legal issues.
  • Effectively partner with the City Manager and develop strong working relationships with department directors to understand operational issues, identify potential legal implications, and proactively provide guidance and advice.
  • Provide consistent leadership and foster a welcoming and collaborative team environment within the City Attorney’s Office. Empower employees to actively discuss cases, bring in fresh ideas, develop strategies as needed, and successfully partner to provide sound legal advice on ongoing initiatives.
  • Commit to advancing racial equity and development of the City Attorney’s Office aptitude to recognize where and when policies, programs, and practices perpetuate institutional and systemic racism and address other inequities that are institutionalized by city policies, programs, or practices.
  • Work diligently in pursuit of advancing the City’s priorities and various master plans, which include, but are not limited to, Racial Equity Plan, Climate Mobilization Action Plan, COVID-19 Response and Recovery, Homelessness, and Affordable Housing.

The Successful Candidate

The new City Attorney quickly understands the values of Boulder and is comfortable working in a community accustomed to high-quality municipal services and a tradition of community involvement. With unquestioned integrity and sound ethics rooted in justice, the City Attorney is dedicated to public service for the benefit of the whole and works in the best interest of the City at all times. The successful candidate maintains objectivity and supports sound legal decisions while remaining solutions-oriented.

The successful candidate is apolitical yet politically astute, with a strong history of developing effective relationships with elected officials to provide expert legal advice and interpretation. A confident leader, the successful candidate effectively navigates controversial issues and is strong enough and humble enough to stand up to pressure and provide unpopular advice when needed. The City is also interested in a candidate that acknowledges the role government has played in creating and perpetuating racial and other inequities and is committed to the role government can play in actively dismantling them. Furthermore, the ideal candidate is confident and respectful in all interactions.

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. The City Attorney has substantial local government law experience and leverages that knowledge to anticipate issues and proactively identify risk in order to develop strategies for legally sound positions. An active listener, the successful candidate is an effective communicator and produces clear and concise written communication to reduce ambiguity.

The City Attorney demonstrates a commitment to advancing racial equity as a key organizational value and is committed to promoting a culture of welcoming inclusion. The City Attorney genuinely encourages and supports collaboration and employs a leadership style that invites participation and solicits input. The ideal candidate is known for building trust and empowering employees, leveraging the staff’s in-depth knowledge and expertise to seek efficient, creative, and practical solutions while producing high-quality work.

Qualifications

A minimum of ten years in the practice of municipal law, ideally with a successful track record as a City or County Attorney, Deputy Attorney, or experience in a private law firm advising municipal governments with a full range of municipal services. Direct leadership experience managing attorneys and paraprofessional legal personnel is essential.

A broad and diverse municipal government background with legal expertise in more than one area, including civil rights, constitution, contracts, criminal justice, elections, employment, environmental, land use, litigation, and legislative matters, is ideal. Extensive knowledge of federal, state, and local statutes, regulations, rules, and ordinances applicable to city activities and functions, including municipal liability, data security, public meetings, public records, and public financing, is required. Residency in the City of Boulder is strongly preferred.

Inside the City of Boulder

The City of Boulder believes in a future with equitable access to health, safety, prosperity, opportunity, and fulfillment. The community adapts and thrives in response to emerging and sometimes urgent social, economic, and environmental challenges. Through a collaborative effort, our city staff works tirelessly to address the pressing needs of our community, including, but not limited to, public safety, housing, transportation, open space maintenance, and libraries and the arts.

Boulder continuously works to provide service excellence for an inspired future. The Sustainability + Resilience Framework guides budget and planning processes by providing consistent goals necessary to achieve the City’s vision of a great community and the actions required to achieve them. Boulder cultivates a creative spirit in order to adapt and thrive in the changing climate.

With a focus on continuous improvement and transformation, Boulder continues to drive strategies in key areas, including:

  • Our Community as Resource: Seeking new solutions to the most pressing community challenges through new mechanisms for direct engagement with highly talented community members.
  • High-Performance Government: Using process-driven continuous improvement to measure and manage performance and better serve the community, as well as building and managing tools that improve transparency and accountability.
  • Data-driven Decision Making: Understanding, collaborating with, and leveraging assets for effective program outcomes and equitable policy decisions.
  • Operational Efficiency: Mirroring innovative policies with shared, efficient, and transparent internal operations practices.
  • Advancing Equities: Closing the gaps, so that race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, genetic information, age, or any other protected characteristic does not predict one’s success while improving outcomes for all.
  • A Culture of Innovation: Seeking value-added changes, creative thinking, and collaboration, and engaging highly talented staff in problem-solving for the benefit of the entire community.

Workplace Culture

The City of Boulder believes that a diverse workforce adds quality and perspective to the services provided to the public. Therefore, the organization intentionally strives to develop and maintain a diverse workforce that values, is sensitive to, and celebrates the differences among employees.

An important component of the City’s culture and environment is Boulder’s Leadership Philosophy – We believe each of us is a leader. We are motivated by the opportunities to make a positive difference for our community. Our greatest results are achieved when we:

  • Create a respectful, trusting, and supportive environment.
  • Rely on, invest in, and celebrate each other’s perspectives, skills, talents, and accomplishments.
  • Consult and collaborate with each other to make timely and quality decisions.
  • Share responsibility for and learn from the process and outcomes of a creative culture.

Structure of Local Government

The City of Boulder has a council-manager form of government where the elected City Council sets policies, and the Council-appointed City Manager administers them. The City Council consists of nine members, including a mayor and mayor pro tem, selected by the Council members. Council members are elected at large and may serve up to three terms. 

The 2021 total Approved Budget is $341.7 Million. The City of Boulder is served by approximately 1400 standard employees, and robust City services are provided through numerous departments and divisions.

The Boulder, Colorado Community

Boulder, Colorado, is located just 30 minutes northwest of Denver, where the plains meet the Rocky Mountains. Tucked into a picturesque valley below the iconic Flatirons that were once home to the Native American tribes of the Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Ute, and other tribes, Boulder now has a population of approximately 108,000. The City has recently been named No. 1 in the Best Places to Live by US News & World Report and is a great place to live, work, grow, and play.

Appreciation and enjoyment of the natural environment have always been at the forefront of life in Boulder. The community has over 45,000 acres of preserved, protected, and maintained open space and mountain parks that form a green belt around the City. Boulder has over 300 miles of public hiking and biking trails, and its mountain parks and open spaces receive well over five million visitors a year. In addition, residents enjoy 1,800 acres of urban parkland and programming through numerous recreation centers and outdoor pools.

Boulder continues to be nationally recognized for its quality of life, thriving tech, research-based economy, and booming real estate market. Boulder is also one of the most educated metropolitan areas in the country. The local public schools are excellent, with Boulder Valley School District consistently ranking among the best in the state. In addition, Boulder is a hub of entrepreneurship, particularly for businesses that value the lifestyle rooted in a love of the outdoors, healthy living, and access to resources.

The University of Colorado at Boulder is currently one of the premier public research institutions in the United States and sits in the heart of Boulder. The University has a strong reputation and is especially known for its engineering and science programs, particularly Earth and Space sciences. There are 17 federally funded science laboratories in Boulder, including the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Boulder fosters an environment for artists and audiences to be innovative, experimental, creative, and expressive. The City has a large concentration of artists with more than 30 art galleries, four museums, a dozen movie and stage theaters, and a huge variety of cultural performances each year, including the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Music Festival, and Chautauqua Summer Series.

Boulder is home to many local restaurants with chefs who are insistent on quality, innovation, and flavor. In addition, Boulder is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s healthiest places to live and is a mecca for natural and organic products. Farms, dairies, ranches, markets, and restaurants embrace the idea of local, seasonal, and artisanal food production and cooking. The Boulder Farmers Market is the largest outdoor market in the state, providing a venue for local agricultural producers to sell their products directly to the public. For those who love beer, wine, and spirits, Boulder has 21 breweries, four distilleries, two wineries, and two cideries. 

While each of the characteristics, passions, and industries that Boulder is known for today emerged organically over time, it is how they work together that makes Boulder Boulder.

Compensation and Benefits

The City Attorney contract is at the discretion of the City Council, with a hiring range of $230,000 –  $250,000 and will depend on the qualifications of the successful candidate. Relocation assistance will be provided. The City of Boulder is a progressive organization that values employee engagement and well-being. The City recognizes the importance of providing an encompassing health and life benefits program to employees, including hybrid work schedules. Additional information can be viewed here.

To Be Considered

The City of Boulder provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, genetic information, age, or any other status protected under federal, state, and/or local law. Add your voice and talents to the City of Boulder and help them grow in service excellence for an inspired future.

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. The position is open until filled with the first review of applications on August 30, 2021.

Questions

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

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