The City Attorney is the city’s chief legal officer. He is responsible for advising the Mayor, City Council, and City Manager on all legal matters pertaining to the city. The City Attorney also advises city departments regarding laws pertaining to city operations and represents the city in court and in all legal and administrative proceedings.
The City Attorney's Office is committed to:
- Providing high quality and aggressive litigation representation to assure each case is resolved in a manner that protects the city's interests.
- Devoting the time and resources necessary to provide the highest quality legal advice.
- Responding to requests for opinions, ordinances, contracts, and other documents in the highest professional manner.
- Working collaboratively with city staff to accomplish policy objectives of the City Council.
- Proactively avoiding and preventing legal issues which could adversely affect the city.
The authority and function of the City Attorney are set forth in Section 4.03 of the City Charter, which reads as follows:
The office of the City Attorney is hereby created. The City Attorney shall be the chief legal officer of the city, and:
- Duties. Shall advise the City Council, individual Council Members, the City Manager and his/her assistants, and department heads regarding the law relating to City affairs.
- Additional Duties. Shall represent the city in all legal proceedings, prepare all ordinances and other needed legal documents, select and retain specialist counsel where there is a need for such specialized legal services, and perform such other duties as may be prescribed by ordinance.
- Department Head. Maybe a full-time department head of the city, or may be contracted as a department head.
- Approval of Contracts. Shall review and approve all city contracts as to legal form.
- Special Counsel. The City Council may retain special counsel in any matter where representation by the City Attorney would create an impermissible conflict, including the discipline or dismissal of the City Manager.
The role of the City Attorney is to provide legal representation and give legal advice to a broad array of city officials. Most importantly, the City Attorney advises and represents the City Council and all City Councilmembers with respect to their official city activities. The City Attorney has an attorney-client relationship with the City Council acting as a body; he does not have an attorney-client relationship with any one Councilmember to the exclusion of the other Councilmembers.
Many citizens believe that the City Attorney serves as the attorney for the entire community, rather than the attorney working solely for the municipal corporation known as the City of Folsom. However, the City Attorney works for citizens only indirectly through the City Council acting as a body. The City Attorney has no attorney-client relationship with the citizens at large.