Under the Charter, the City Attorney is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the City Council and attends all City Council meetings. The City Attorney serves as legal advisor to the City Council, City Manager, and the Management Staff. The office of the City Attorney also provides legal counsel to the Local Liquor Licensing Authority, the Durango Planning Commission, and Board of Ethics. The City Attorney reviews and interprets federal, state and local laws as they pertain to the conduct of City business and advises City Council and staff accordingly. The City Attorney is also responsible for preparing all necessary ordinances, contracts, and agreements on behalf of the City of Durango. The City Attorney represents the City in litigation matters that are not covered by the City’s insurance providers or outside counsel. The City Attorney supervises the City Legal Coordinator and City Prosecutors. The City Attorney coordinates with other special counsel such as bond counsel, water rights counsel and insurance defense counsel. The office does not give legal advice to private citizens.
The City Attorney’s budget is fairly straight forward with the majority consisting of salaries for two full-time employees and two part-time municipal court prosecutors. The remaining budget provides a modest amount for outside counsel and other contracted services, allocations for office supplies (including a cell phone), professional organizational dues, legal research and professional development. The City Attorney’s budget is funded by the General Fund. The overall 2021 proposed budget, including suggested reductions, is less than the 2020 approved budget.