• Phi Delta Phi Canada
  • $129,220.00 -129,220.00/year*
  • Mercer Island, WA
  • Legal
  • Full-Time
  • 4315 Forest Ave SE

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City of Mercer Island

City Attorney

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  • Description


    Just over five miles long and two miles wide, Mercer Island is an island community consisting of high-quality residential areas, preserved parks and open space, as well as miles of developed shoreline. Incorporated in July 1960, the Island has its own sense of identity, distinct from its neighbors, Seattle and Bellevue. It is just 10 minutes from downtown Seattle via the Interstate 90 floating bridge, and a similar distance from the burgeoning businesses and high-density residential communities of the Eastside. While the Island is primarily a residential community, Mercer Island has a northern Town Center providing plazas, public art, shops, and restaurants.

    City-owned land, including over 500 acres of local parks and other open space land, has helped maintain the Islands natural beauty over the years. Quiet neighborhoods and forest-like parks are complemented by panoramic views of Seattle, the Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, and Lake Washington, making Mercer Island a stunning area in which to live.

    In 2018, Money Magazine named Mercer Island the Best Place to Live in Washington and 89th on the magazines list of 100 Best Places to Live. It noted Mercer Island's small town feel and natural beauty, the City's well-maintained parks, miles of scenic shoreline, and special community events that draw residents to the popular Town Center.

    Learn more by visiting the official site of the City of Mercer Island, Washington www.mercergov.org


    The City of Mercer Island is a Council/Manager form of government with seven City Councilmembers, who are all elected at large. Mercer Island is a full-service city providing a broad range of municipal services including Police and Fire protection, Community Planning and Development, Parks and Recreation, Water, Sewer and Stormwater utilities, Human Services, and Administrative and Financial services. Mercer Island has an adopted 2019-2020 biennial budget of $143.2 million.

    City Manager Julie Underwood was appointed to the position in January 2017 and oversees the Leadership Team, comprised of 13 executive-level employees, including 10 department directors. There are a variety of boards and commissions, including the Disability Board, Arts Council, Civil Service Commission, Planning Commission, Design Commission, Utility Board, Open Space Conservancy Trust Board, and Parks & Recreation Commission, which all advise the City Council in the development and formulation of the Citys policy and priorities.

    The City employs approximately 200 full-time and 60 part-time employees. Ninety of the 200 employees are unrepresented and the remaining employees are represented by one of four union groups: Police, Police Support, Fire, and AFSCME.

    The Mercer Island organization prides itself on communicating and working cooperatively with residents and volunteers and collaborating with community groups effectively. Our well-established Mission Statement includes four core values: 1) High ethical standards, 2) Outstanding customer service, 3) Teamwork and 4) Leadership development.


    The City Attorney position has three critical functions at the City. The City Attorney (1) acts as an internal service consultant and advisor to the Leadership Team, the City Council and other City staff, (2) manages the day-to-day administration of the City Attorneys Office, and (3) assists the City Manager with managing the legal aspects related to top policy objectives and initiatives of the City Council. The City Attorney is the primary individual who, working with the City Manager and other Leadership Team Members, ensures that details are legally accurate and relevant for those projects and presentations placed before the City Council for consideration.

    The City Attorney Department consists of the following positions: City Attorney, Assistant City Attorney, and a Paralegal/Public Records Officer. Prosecutorial services are currently contracted out but managed by the City Attorneys Office. The City Attorney serves as the primary legal advisor to the City Manager, the various Department Directors, and the City Council.

    Specifically, the City Attorney is responsible for:

  • Planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the provision of legal services to and for the City.
  • Providing legal advice and guidance to the City Council, City Manager, City departments, and City Boards and Commissions through direct consultation and written legal opinions.
  • Working closely with the Community Planning & Development (CPD) Department Director and staff to assist in accomplishing short-term and long-range planning and to advise on land use matters.
  • Implementing and maintaining sound organizational practices, controlling costs.
  • Supervising the Assistant City Attorney and Paralegal/Public Records Officer and otherwise directing and controlling all departmental functions toward achieving overall City goals.
  • Resolving legal questions which arise during the development and implementation of City projects and programs.
  • Analyzing legal trends in order to present alternatives to City Manager, City Council and various City departments concerning major issues facing the City.
  • Regularly attending meetings of the City Council, and other evening meetings as necessary.
  • Providing legal opinions and advice as questions are raised at Council and Board/Commission meetings attended.
  • Supervising and reviewing the preparation of ordinances, regulations, contracts, and other legal documents ensuring compliance with local, state and federal law and adequate legal protection of the City.
  • Representing the City in proceedings before local district court, superior court, appellate courts, and before administrative agencies.
  • Monitoring all litigation including litigation being defended by legal counsel appointed by the Washington Cities Insurance Association.
  • Serving as the Citys risk manager, including representing the City as the delegate for the Citys insurer, Washington Cities Insurance Authority (WCIA).
  • Representing, participating and advising the City in matters related to labor relations, including bargaining, grievances, unfair labor practices, etc,
  • Other related duties as assigned by the City Manager.
  • The new City Attorney must quickly assimilate into a high-performance organization. The City Attorney must work diligently to create a seamless transition of responsibilities.
  • Requirements


    The requirements of this position call for substantial experience in municipal law working in a senior level position. It is preferable that candidates have extensive public forum exposure requiring the strongest of communications and management skills. Specific experience in managing a legal department is strongly preferred. Candidates must have management and leadership presence, well developed decision-making and follow-up abilities and be able to function in a team-oriented environment. Assistance to and continuous exposure in dealing with City Council, Boards/Commissions, civic and resident groups will require high levels of patience. The ability to effectively manage multiple, and sometimes competing priorities as well as lead and motivate team members is essential.

    The successful candidate will have outstanding verbal and written communication skills. The position requires an individual who also possesses a willingness to identify problems and demonstrates the flexibility to address changes in the law in a timely and effective manner. The successful candidate must display a confident personal image and level of sophistication that will allow him/her to effectively serve in a variety of social and political settings. The new City Attorney will possess a balance of assertiveness and diplomacy, be a good listener, fair-minded, and be willing to discuss various matters candidly. This position requires a person capable of operating with significant independence and initiative, while being adept at innovative problem-solving. This is a position of public trust; personal integrity and ethics must be beyond reproach.


  • A Juris Doctorate Degree and member in good standing of the Washington State Bar for a minimum of seven (7) years practicing primarily in the area of municipal law.
  • Knowledge of the Revised Code of Washington and the principles of municipal law, including drafting ordinances and resolutions.
  • Senior level management experience with a demonstrated record of positive leadership qualities.
  • Excellent knowledge of municipal law, including land use and environmental law, labor and employment law and contracts law.
  • Must have excellent analytical and writing skills.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Experience demonstrating the ability to make analytical and reasoned judgments on issues of public sensibility.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop a team approach to problem solving with City staff and Council.
  • Must be politically savvy, flexible, and diplomatic.
  • Demonstrated experience and ability to take an active role in community relations and be willing to devote time to contribute to a positive and responsible City government.
  • Experience of a high level for labor relations/negotiations/contract administration, land use, traffic and transportation issues.

    $165,000 - $172,000, dependent upon experience

    Medical / Dental / Vision / Life / LTD insurance

    200 Hours of Vacation Leave and monthly earned Sick Leave

    11 Paid Holidays

    PERS, RHS, and Deferred Compensation


    The City of Mercer Island is an Equal Opportunity Employer, does not discriminate, and values diversity. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

    Qualified candidates will be required to submit a cover letter, and resume.

    Following the filing date, resumes will be screened in relation to the criteria outlined in this brochure. Prior to selecting finalists for the interview process, candidates who meet the minimum criteria may be asked to answer a series of supplemental questions. Finalists will then be identified for the interview process targeted for mid-June.

    For more information, contact Kryss Segle, Human Resources Director at (206) ###-#### or ...@mercergov.org. Please do not send resumes to this email address.

    A comprehensive reference check will occur for the top candidates following the interview process. Prior to being hired, the candidate will be subject to a criminal history/background check.

    Application materials will only be accepted through

    Mercer Island is an Equal Opportunity Employer and
    values diversity at all levels of its workforce.

    Associated topics: attorney corporate, business, compliance, compliance department, corporate, corporate attorney, counsel, legal, legal department, market

    * The salary listed in the header is an estimate based on salary data for similar jobs in the same area. Salary or compensation data found in the job description is accurate.

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