Search is on for new Colorado Springs city attorney

August 29, 2011

Colorado Springs will have a new city attorney by the time Patricia Kelly leaves Sept. 30.

At least that’s Mayor Steve Bach’s plan.

“The mayor is beginning the process and will be interviewing candidates for the position,” Cindy Aubrey, the city’s chief communications officer, said in an email Monday.

Kelly, who has worked for the city more than 25 years, announced her resignation Friday.

Her departure comes just weeks after Bach said he was disappointed that Kelly failed to consult him before drafting proposed charter changes that would have taken away some of his authority.

Kelly’s departure also comes as the city is embroiled in a major legal battle involving the future of Banning-Lewis Ranch. A Texas energy company wants to drill for oil and gas on the property and has asked a judge to set aside an annexation agreement designed to govern the property’s development, which the city is fighting.

Kelly “has been doing an awful lot of the heavy lifting on Banning-Lewis,” City Council President Scott Hente said.

But, Hente said, Kelly has a “great staff behind her who can fill in some of the blanks.”

Aubrey said the city has outside attorneys who will continue to work on the case.

Aubrey said she was “not sure” whether the mayor would conduct a nationwide search or look for a replacement from within the City Attorney’s Office.

The job has not been posted on the city’s website.

Hente said the mayor would have a couple of good “senior attorneys” to choose from if he decided to find a replacement in-house, though he declined to give names.

“I am very impressed with a couple of them,” he said.

“If he chose one of those, I would be very happy,” Hente added. “If I was in his position, I think I would tend to pick one of those individuals.”

Kelly oversees about 30 attorneys and 27 support staff, according to the city’s website.

“As City Attorney, she is responsible for representation of the City in all cases in federal and state court where the City has an interest and further, is the chief legal advisor to the City Council, all Boards and Commissions, the City Manager, Utilities Executive Director, Board of Trustees of Memorial Hospital, as well as the staffs of their respective organizations, and all other enterprises and appointees of the City,” the website states. “Additionally, the City Attorney’s Office is charged with prosecution of all cases docketed into Municipal Court.”

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