The City Attorney is one of three positions in the City of Petersburg appointed by, serving under contract with, and reporting directly to City Council in accordance with Section 3-6 of the City Charter.
The City Attorney’s Office is responsible for handling all legal matters on behalf of the City of Petersburg. The City Attorney provides legal counsel and representation to City Council, and serves as Parliamentarian for City Council in addressing procedural questions relating to conducting their public meetings.
The City Attorney’s Office also provides legal counsel and representation to the City’s Administration and its employees on matters pertaining to City business. The City Attorney defends legal actions instituted against the City and/or its officers and employees for acts and incidents arising during the ordinary course of their work for the City and prosecutes all civil matters on behalf of the City. This may include the management and monitoring of outside counsel either retained by the City’s insurer, or directly by the City; or it may involve direct representation by the City Attorney in Court and/or administrative proceedings. These matters may include but are not limited to Land Use and Zoning matters, Taxation, Torts, Procurement Disputes, Contracts, Employment Matters, and other issues arising in the course of local governmental operations.
The City Attorney is also authorized to prosecute criminal violations of City Code and, with the concurrence of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, may also prosecute other Misdemeanor criminal violations. These matters typically include, but are not limited to, prosecution of violations of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code as adopted by the City of Petersburg, and violations of the Petersburg Zoning Ordinance.
The City Attorney’s Office reviews and prepares ordinances, resolutions, bonds, contracts, deeds, instruments and other legal documents for the City and the City’s administration, and in accordance with §15.2-1803 of the Code of Virginia, reviews and approves as to form prior to recordation, every deed purporting to convey an interest in real property to the City of Petersburg.
The City Attorney’s Office is comprised of the City Attorney and one Paralegal. The City Attorney may also appoint or employ such Special or outside counsel, and other legal professionals as necessary to meet the City’s legal needs. The City Attorney is a licensed practicing attorney in the Commonwealth of Virginia, admitted to practice in every state level court in the Commonwealth of Virginia as well as the federal courts for both the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia, the U.S. Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. The City Attorney is also licensed to practice law in the State of New York.
The Paralegal for the City Attorney’s Office also serves as the Office Administrator, maintaining all of the legal files for the office, preparing draft documents for review and issuance by the City Attorney, and coordinating scheduling and calendaring for the City Attorney and his office. The Paralegal for the City Attorney’s Office holds a Paralegal Certification from an accredited Virginia College.
In accordance with 2-192 of the City Code, the City Attorney and his staff handle all legal matters on behalf of the city. All employees of the Office of the City Attorney serve under the direction and at the pleasure of the City Attorney.
The Office of the City Attorney cannot provide legal advice to citizens in private matters, nor is the office permitted to make referrals to citizens for private attorneys. This office does not prosecute violations of state law or local ordinances; such prosecutions of criminal violations are handled by the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney.