Benicia City Council interviewing candidates to replace City Attorney Heather McLaughlin

Repost from the Vallejo Times-Herald

Benicia council to interview law firms on Wednesday

By JOHN GLIDDEN, November 13, 2018 at 4:38 pm
Heather Mc Laughlin, Benicia City Attorney

BENICIA » The City Council will meet in a special closed session on Wednesday to interview several law firms that have applied to provide city attorney services.

Benicia City Attorney Heather Mc Laughlin confirmed Tuesday that five firms responded to a request for proposals (RFP) the city released in September.

She declined to provide the names of the firms — citing applicant privacy.

The City Council voted 4-0 during its Sept. 4 meeting to release the RFP after Mc Laughlin announced she will be retiring as city attorney at the end of March 2019. Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson was absent from that meeting.

Mc Laughlin said Tuesday that the selected law firm will provide an individual to serve as city attorney but the person will not be a city employee. Mc Laughlin, who was hired in 1997, is a city employee.

The city attorney serves as chief legal counsel for the city, representing the City Council, city manager, and city staff.Responsibilities include attending all council meetings and advising the council regarding matters on the agenda. The person will also attend Open Government Commission, and Planning Commission meetings.

Additional services include keeping the council informed about all legislation or judicial opinions which could impact the city, recommending policies, interpreting the Benicia Municipal Code and prosecuting misdemeanor and ordinance infractions, among other duties.

It’s not known yet how much the new attorney services will cost the city, however, Mc Laughlin currently receives an annual base salary of $207,106.

Councilors are expected to award the new legal services agreement on Nov. 29 with a March 1, 2019 start date.

The general public will have a chance to address the council prior to the closed session portion of the meeting.

The special Benicia City Council meeting begins at 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, and will be held inside the Benicia Community Center, Room 2, located at 370 L St.