Department Responsibilities

Organization

The City Attorney and four Assistant City Attorneys work directly with City departments and officials as assigned. Each attorney has expertise in specific subject matters; however, each attorney responds to any City legal matter as needed.

The Paralegals assist the City Attorneys with ordinance violation prosecution, property maintenance cases and other civil litigation. The Legal Assistants and Administrative Assistant carry out all administrative assignments and work directly with the attorneys and paralegals on all matters.

Meet the Staff

Goals & Responsibilities

Citizens

  • Respond to citizen inquiries with respect to laws and regulations enforced by the City
  • Assist citizens in locating City ordinances
  • Negotiate, draft and review major intergovernmental agreements that increase the efficiency or decrease the cost of delivering City services
  • Review Freedom of Information Act requests, advise departments and interact with the Public Access Counselor in the Attorney General’s Office to ensure transparency, protect individual privacy interests, and protect the legal interests of the City and its citizens
  • Assist with implementation of the Public Communication Plan, including actions to improve open access and sharing of information through application of the Open Meetings and Freedom of Information Acts
  • Assist the Liquor Commissioner with liquor enforcement, including regular review of liquor applications and providing information to liquor licensees to promote public safety
  • Coordinate with the Neighborhood Services Department on code compliance to ensure that blight is kept to a minimum and property values are maintained
  • Review financial assistance contracts to adhere to the Neighborhood Services program guidelines to ensure that the City complies with laws and regulations and that the legal interests of citizens are protected
  • Improve citizen access to information about Legal Department services by ensuring up-to-date Departmental information on the City’s website

City Departments

  • Support the Mayor and City Council with procedural aspects of all Council Meetings to ensure that the meetings consistently follow a format that is understandable to citizens and instill confidence in the integrity of the proceedings
  • Coordinate production of all regular City Council agendas with the City Manager’s Office to ensure that items comply with the law and are consistent with City policy
  • Draft approximately 50 ordinances and resolutions per year and review approximately 300 regular City Council agenda items per year to ensure that each item legally accomplishes its goal
  • Provide legal advice to the Mayor and City Council, all City Departments, METCAD, Library, City Boards and Commissions and the City of Champaign Township Supervisor and Assessor to ensure compliance with law and City policy
  • Provide legal guidance and opinions concerning ethical issues to ensure citizen confidence in government officials
  • Render formal legal opinions regarding the force and effect of laws on City operations, for example, opinions concerning conflicts of interest of City officials and employees to ensure that the City and its officials comply with the law which will promote citizen confidence in the City and its actions
  • Negotiate, draft and review City contracts, including purchases of goods and services, labor/employment agreements, real estate contracts and insurance contracts to ensure that the contracts comply with the law, are consistent with City policy and provide adequate contractual protections for the City
  • Review amendments to and assist with the re-writing of the City’s Zoning Ordinance
  • Assist the Planning and Development Department in negotiating and processing annexation agreements and annexations in order to ensure continued City growth and the City’s economic vitality
  • Assist the City Manager’s Office and Police Department in the citizen complaint process to ensure citizens’ rights are protected and that City employees receive fair treatment in the process
  • Assist the Human Resources Department in labor negotiations, and provide legal advice regarding all human resources issues to ensure compliance with state and federal laws
  • Promote the education of City employees concerning legal issues through departmental presentations and educational materials to ensure that employees know their legal responsibilities to better serve the public

Prosecution & Litigation

  • Prosecute money collection actions on behalf of the City when initial collection efforts by the City have been unsuccessful
  • Advise the Office of Community Relations with respect to incoming complaints under the City’s Human Rights Ordinance and prosecute violations as required
  • Defend administrative claims and all civil litigation against the City and its employees
  • Represent the City in all employee disciplinary cases before arbitrators and the courts
  • Advise the Human Resources Department in administering the workers’ compensation program and negotiate or defend workers’ compensation claims before arbitrators
  • Monitor all claims for damages made against the City and its employees in cooperation with the Risk Manager, including arranging for defense of claims and advising on settlement
  • Prosecuting persons (licensees and purchasers) for violations of the City’s liquor code
  • Pursue demolition orders and repair or abatement orders and seek administrative search warrants in court against owners of blighted properties, as requested by the Neighborhood Services Department and pursue foreclosure on City liens for costs of nuisance abatement and demolition for defaulted loans
  • Initiate and prosecute City ordinance violations stemming from police enforcement actions through sentencing, collection and appeal
  • Produce an annual litigation report in addition to regular ongoing litigation reports for the City Council; and an annual report on City ordinance violation prosecution, to ensure that City policy and practices are protected and promoted to keep Council informed
  • Prosecute violations of City’s Zoning Ordinance as requested by the Planning and Development Department