The City Attorney is appointed by, and serves at the pleasure of, the City Commission for an indefinite term. The City Attorney is the chief legal advisor to the City Commission, City Manager and all its officers and employees in matters relating to their offices and official duties. This office also advises, counsels and represents the Downtown Development Authority on an as-needed basis. The City Attorney's role as the chief legal advisor is to interpret and apply the relevant law with the primary goal of protecting the interests of the City. The law that affects the City, which the City Attorney is charged with interpreting and applying includes the United States Constitution, Federal statutes, rules, and regulations, Federal case law, the Michigan Constitution, State statutes, rules, and regulations, State case law, the City Charter, and City Ordinances, including the Zoning Ordinance.
All requests for legal services by the City Commission, City Manager and City officers and employees are handled through this office. While some activities of the City Attorney's Office directly affect the public, the City Attorney cannot advise members of the public.
The primary functions of the Department are to:
Advise and provide counsel for the City Commission, City Manager, the City Boards and Commissions and all City Departments regarding relevant laws and policies. Draft, or review drafts, of ordinances, code amendments, resolutions, agreements, legal opinions, deeds, leases, contracts, pleadings and other legal documents, as requested, to protect the City's interests as it conducts business. Represents the City in matters involving civil litigation, administrative tribunals, and prosecutes violations of the Traverse City Code as requested. Negotiate, or assist in the negotiations of, contracts and real estate transactions as needed. Represents the City at meeting of the City Commission and other Commission meetings as requested.