County Of Sonoma Job - 30904951 | CareerArc
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Company: County Of Sonoma
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Career Level: Associate
Industries: Not specified


About the Position

The County Counsel's Office is organized into five practice groups: Litigation, Infrastructure and Public Resources, Health and Human Services, Land Use, and Natural Resources and Resiliency (created following the 2017 fires). The present needs are in the Land Use Practice Group and the Infrastructure and Public Resources Practice Group, and the successful candidate may be assigned to either practice group.

The Land Use Practice Group provides legal advice to the Board of Supervisors, Planning Division, and the various bodies it supports, including the Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Adjustments. Attorneys in the Land Use group provide general legal advice regarding the application of local agency police power, general plan, zoning, and other land use regulations, including constitutional matters of due process, equal protection, takings, freedom of religion and speech, federal or state preemption, public trust, and vested rights. Attorneys in the Land Use group also provide advice in specialized areas including: the Coastal Act, the Subdivision Map Act, Land Conservation Act (Williamson Act), Surface Mining & Reclamation Act, Building & Housing regulations including the Health & Safety code, affordable housing regulations, Cannabis law, Telecommunications law, Timberland Productivity Act, hazard mitigation planning, and Permit Streamlining Act. Additionally, Attorneys in the Land Use group draft restrictions on property, and other real property documents, as needed. Attorneys provide legal services and advice in all aspects of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other certified regulatory programs, and other specialized areas of Environmental law such as: Endangered Species Acts, Fish & Game Code protected species, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Clean Water Act (401, 404, NPDES permits generally and storm water), lake and streambed alteration issues (Fish & Game Code Section 1602), historic preservation law, tribal cultural resources (AB 52 tribal consultation), environmental contamination/ brownfields, Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), SB 375 and California transportation planning law. The workload is expected to be a mix of advisory work with periodic litigation defense in state or federal court as needed.

The Infrastructure and Public Resources Group provides legal advice to many of the County's core government functions departments and multiple independent agencies and special districts. The Infrastructure group advises the Board of Supervisors, Department and Agency heads, and the various bodies those entities support, including the Sonoma County Community Development Commission, the Sonoma County Ag and Open Space District, the Sonoma County Water Agency, and the following internal departments: the Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector; the Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Registrar of Voters; the Clerk of the Board; the County Administrator's Office; the Economic Development Board; the Sonoma County Fair; General Services (including Real Estate and Purchasing); Regional Parks; Transportation and Public Works (including the Sonoma County Airport). Attorneys in the Infrastructure group provide general legal advice regarding compliance with the Brown Act, the California Public Records Act, the Political Reform Act, reporting requirements and conflicts of interest under the Fair Political Practices Commission Regulations and common law conflicts of interest, CEQA, and public contracting and procurement. They also provide advice in specialized areas including: Real Estate, Land Conservation, Water Rights, Sustainable Groundwater Management, affordable housing, Municipal Finance, Elections law. Additionally, Attorneys in the Infrastructure group negotiate real property acquisitions and sales, and draft all real property documents, including CEQA, as needed. The workload is expected to be a mix of advisory work with periodic litigation defense in state or federal court as needed.

The ideal candidate will possess:

  • Experience in private development or public project review, CEQA compliance, cannabis law, telecommunications law, planning & zoning laws, the Coastal Act, California Building Code, housing law, Public Records Act, and/or constitutional and general public laws
  • Experience in drafting and interpreting land use ordinances, plans, and policies Experience appearing before and/or advising administrative bodies
  • Experience preparing and presenting civil cases before State and Federal courts
  • Exceptional research and writing skills
  • Proven ability to creatively solve problems
  • Demonstrated initiative in learning new things
  • A record of excellent academic achievement
  • Exceptional legal judgment
  • A solid understanding and knowledge of the requirements of the Brown Act, the California Public Records Act, and Conflict of Interest laws
  • Experience in handling complex transactional matters, including public works, real property transactions, public procurement, construction law, land conservation, solid water, and/or transportation law
  • Proven ability to work effectively, both as part of a team and independently

The Office of County Counsel

The Sonoma County Office of County Counsel is committed to providing the highest quality legal representation and advice, in a timely and responsive manner, to assist the County, its governing Board of Supervisors, and other clients. The Office works to promote the public interest, achieve programmatic and strategic goals, and protect financial resources. County Counsel is the primary provider of legal services to the Board of Supervisors, County departments, the Grand Jury, and more than 25 special districts, including Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA), Sonoma County Employees' Retirement Association (SCERA), Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), and the Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA). The Office provides legal staff to many County commissions, and its attorneys regularly provide counsel to the Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission, Civil Service Commission, and Board of Zoning Adjustments at public meetings and hearings. In addition to providing daily advice on issues such as contract compliance, employment conditions, public works, and land use planning, County Counsel attorneys regularly appear in court on behalf of County departments in such matters as juvenile dependency cases, code enforcement actions, bail recovery, and mental health competency hearings. County Counsel either directly handles or coordinates outside counsel in the defense of all claims filed against the County, and proactively works with departments to minimize risk and assist in policy development and implementation.

The Office of approximately 35 attorneys and 10 support staff places a high value on its collegial atmosphere and commitment to providing excellent legal services. It is structured into four practice groups: Health and Human Services; Infrastructure and Public Resources; Land Use; and Litigation. Each Group is supervised by a Chief Deputy County Counsel and overall office supervision functions through the Assistant County Counsel and County Counsel. All staff is relied upon to work independently, meet client needs, and exercise sound judgment.

*Salary is negotiable within the established range. Benefits described herein do not represent a contract and may be changed without notice. Additional information can be found in the County of Sonoma Salary Resolution.

The employment list established from this recruitment may be used to fill future full-time, part- time, or extra-help (temporary) positions as they occur during the active status of the list. The Civil Service title for this position is Deputy County Counsel III. County employees who wish to be considered for future positions should consider applying to this recruitment.


Minimum Qualifications

Experience: Any combination of training and experience which would provide the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and abilities listed. Normally, two years of legal experience practicing civil law as a licensed attorney, at least one year of which was with a public agency performing duties comparable to a Deputy County Counsel II; or comparable experience in private practice.

Professional License: Current active membership in the State Bar of California.

License: Possession of a valid driver's license at the appropriate level including special endorsements, as required by the State of California, may be required depending upon assignment to perform the essential job functions of the position.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Considerable knowledge of: written and oral communications, including language mechanics, syntax and English composition; the principles and application of civil law; legal research methods; the duties, powers, limitations and authorities of the Office of the County Counsel; trial and hearing procedures and rules of evidence; the organization, powers, and limitations of local governmental functions; the statutory and constitutional laws of the State of California.

Ability to: research, analyze and apply legal principles, facts, evidence and precedents to legal problems; prepare, present and conduct cases of law in court; present statements of law, fact and argument clearly and logically in written and oral form; develop and maintain effective relationships with other staff members, departmental representatives, county officials, members of advisory and policy-making bodies, the courts and the public; analyze and draft ordinances and regulations.

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