Located in Southwest Florida along the Gulf of Mexico, Lee County is approximately 120 miles south of Tampa and about 150 miles from Miami and Orlando. The County is home to five incorporated municipalities, including Fort Myers, the County seat. The County has approximately 650,000 residents and encompasses approximately 811 square miles and is known for its beautiful, sandy white beaches, subtropical climate and exceptional quality of life. The County has a Commission/Manager form of government in which five Commissioners are elected at large to four-year staggered terms. The County has an FY2012/2013 adopted budget of $1.76 billion including reserves and a General Fund operating budget of $457 million, with approximately 2,300 employees. The County Attorney represents the County, the County Commission, the County Manager, the department heads, all departments and divisions of the County, all Boards, Committees, Agencies and Authorities in all legal matters affecting the County government. The County Attorney’s Office has a 2013 budget of $3.3 million with 25 authorized staff, including 13 attorneys. A law degree from an accredited college and a license to practice law in the State of Florida is required. Substantial public law experience with an emphasis on local government law, as well as administrative management of a similarly sized legal practice is desired. The salary range is open, dependent upon qualifications. First review of applications will take place on June 3, 2013; position is open until filled.
Lee County is an Equal Opportunity/ADA Employer.
Pursuant to Florida’s open records law, applications and resumes are subject to disclosure.
Lee County, Florida (pop. 645,000) is located along the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida, approximately 120 miles south of Tampa and 150 miles from Miami and Orlando. The County encompasses 811 square miles and includes five incorporated cities—Cape Coral (pop. 157,000), Bonita Springs, Sanibel, the Town of Fort Myers Beach, and Fort Myers, the County seat. Lee County is recognized for being innovative and has received numerous awards and recognitions.
Lee County is home to the ninth largest school district in Florida and the 40th largest in the United States. One of the most progressive public school districts in the state, Lee County provides excellent options for primary and secondary education as well as higher learning opportunities. The County has over 120 public schools, including many private and charter schools, one of which was recently recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Higher educational opportunities are available through esteemed local and regional colleges and universities, including Florida Gulf Coast University, Barry University, Nova Southeastern University, Edison State College, Hodges University, ITT Technical Institute, Keiser University, Southwest Florida College and Rasmussen College.
Lee County has 50 miles of sandy white beaches, many parks, country clubs, championship golf courses, streams, creeks and lakes which provide world-class fishing and recreation. Last year, the County realized a $3 billion economic impact from its more than 4.7 million visitors. Within the County, there are 13 islands and four wildlife refuges. Lee County’s Department of Parks & Recreation maintains a year-round schedule of events, recreational activities and competitive sports for all ages. Local attractions include four baseball stadiums which are Major League Baseball Spring Training homes to the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. Other popular attractions within a three-hour drive include Disney World, Universal Studios and Busch Gardens.
Major employers within the County include the Lee County School District, Lee Memorial Health System, Publix Supermarkets, Lee County Government, Wal-Mart, and Chico’s FAS. The racial demographics of the County are 70% Caucasian, 19% Hispanic, 9% African American, 1% Asian and 1% Other. The median household income is more than $40,000, and the County’s cost of living index is 95.5, which is less than the U.S. average of 100.
With an average annual temperature of 74 degrees and approximately 266 sunny days a year, Lee County provides a warm climate year-round for its residents to enjoy. The County’s subtropical climate, stable economy, variety of housing choices, excellent schools, and a myriad of healthcare and transportation options afford its residents an exceptional quality of life.
Lee County was founded in 1887 and is named after General Robert E. Lee. The County is a political subdivision of the State of Florida, governed by the State Constitution and general laws of the State of Florida. It became a Charter County upon the enactment of its County Charter approved by the voters in November of 1996, effective as of January 1, 1997. The County has a Commission-Manager form of government in which five Commissioners are elected at large to four-year staggered terms with no term limits. The County Attorney, County Manager and Hearing Examiner report to the County Commission. The Port Authority Director is a contract employee of the County Commission.
The County Manager serves as the chief executive officer and oversees the day-to-day operations of the County. County Departments include the County Attorney’s Office; County Administration; Animal Services; Budget; Community Development; Construction & Design; County Lands; Economic Development; Facilities; Fleet; GIS; Human/Public Resources; Human Services; Information Technology; Library; Natural Resources; Parks & Recreation; Procurement Management; Public Safety; Solid Waste; Sports Authority; Sustainability; Transit; Transportation; Utilities; Veteran Services; and Visitor & Convention Bureau. The County has five Constitutional Officers which include the Supervisor of Elections, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, Clerk of the Court, and the Sheriff. The County has approximately 2,300 employees and an FY2012/2013 countywide budget of $1.76 billion, including both reserves and a General Fund operating budget of $457 million. Since the FY2007-08 budget, the County has had an overall reduction of 14% in staff and a $650 million reduction in the budget.
Historically a fiscally conservative agency, the County continues to provide a high level of service delivery to a rapidly growing population. In recent years, the County experienced a significant decline in assessed property values. The local real estate market has been flooded with homes for sale, many of which have been foreclosed. With the resulting decline in revenues, the County has taken the necessary steps to reduce its budget while maintaining a high level of core services, often through use of its reserves. In addition, the County has reduced its impact fees significantly for a time period to relieve additional burdens on local enterprises. The real estate market is rebounding, and, with other revenues such as tourism taxes, the County’s fiscal condition remains stable and is continuing to improve.
The County Attorney is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the five-member Board of County Commissioners. The County Attorney serves as the legal advisor and counsel to the Board of County Commissioners and those entities for which the Board sits as a governing body including the Lee County Port Authority. The County Attorney provides legal services to the Board, the County Manager and departments and divisions under the supervision of the County Manager, and all County regulatory and advisory boards and agencies in all matters relating to their official duties and responsibilities.
The County Attorney is appointed by an affirmative vote of a simple majority and is hired by a contract with the Board of Commissioners. The County Attorney’s Office has a 2013 budget of $3.3 million with 25 authorized staff, including 13 attorneys. The County Attorney hires staff for the County Attorney’s office including several Assistant County Attorneys. The Office provides services in a variety of legal areas such as Appellate, Constitutional, Employment, Public, Commercial, Administrative, Finance, Transportation, Land Use, Environmental, and other areas and includes litigation and transactional law. The vast majority of legal services are handled in-house with the occasional exception of highly specialized issues that are contracted out.
The County Attorney’s responsibilities include:
The ideal candidate will possess a comprehensive knowledge of principles of civil, constitutional and administrative law as it relates to county government in the State of Florida and other public agency law. Candidates should have a thorough understanding of the responsibilities, powers and statutory limitations of the Office of the County Attorney, as well as judicial proceedings at the administrative, trial and appellate levels, and Rules of Evidence. Management techniques and skills applicable to a significant sized professional law office are needed. A consummate professional with strong analytical and negotiating abilities, as well as knowledge of current laws and local government issues, who can provide sound legal advice to the Board and others is desired. A team-oriented manager who mentors staff, delegates, and expects accountability is needed. An individual who is confident, even-keeled with a calm demeanor, and who can hit the ground running is needed. Ability to adapt quickly and get ahead of issues is a must.
- Attending Board of County Commissioners’ meetings to provide legal assistance, opinions and advice;
- Representing the County Commission in all legal matters, including the bringing and defending of suits;
- Conferring with County Commissioners, departments, officers, and employees in reference to legal questions and providing written and oral legal opinions, advice and guidance;
- Reviewing documents of legal significance before submission to the Board for action, including agreements, contracts, deeds, bonds, ordinances, resolutions, regulations, rules or policy;
- Conduct and supervise legal affairs of the Board including contract negotiations, administrative review, legislation, and litigation;
- Drafting contracts, resolutions, special legislative acts or legal documents on behalf of the County;
- Defending or prosecuting, as legally required, all civil actions and proceedings in which the County or any of its offices are involved;
- Studying, interpreting and applying constitutions, statutes, ordinances, court decisions and legal opinions in connection with legal advice, suits, trials, hearings, appeals and similar legal proceedings; and making decisions, subject to Board of County Commissioners’ policies, to prosecute, compromise or dismiss civil litigation;
- Establishing and maintaining appropriate administrative policies, services, controls and reporting systems in the effective and efficient performance of the Office of the County Attorney functions;
- Organizing, coordinating, supervising and directing the activities of the Office of the County Attorney to include appointing, training, supervising, evaluating and directing subordinates and professional, administrative and clerical staff;
- Coordinating Office activities with other agencies and appropriate community organizations;
- Recommending the annual Office budget to the County Manager and participating in its presentation to the Board of County Commissioners;
- Directing maintenance of the Office’s fiscal and personnel records, and performing related work;
- Performing other professional legal services as mandated by law.
The successful candidate must be decisive, direct, and remain apolitical. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are necessary, as well as diplomacy and an ability to work well with officials, the court, County staff and the public. A law degree from an accredited college and a license to practice law in the State of Florida is required; must be in good standing with the Florida Bar. Substantial public law experience with an emphasis on local government law, specifically County government, as well as administrative management of a similarly sized legal office is desired.
The salary range is open and dependent upon qualifications, with a competitive benefits package. The starting salary will be based upon the knowledge and experience of the individual selected. For additional information on benefits, please visit:
The County participates in the Florida Retirement System. The State of Florida does not have a state income tax.
Resumes will be screened according to the qualifications outlined above. Screening interviews with the most qualified applicants will be conducted by Bob Murray & Associates in order to determine a select group of finalist candidates who will be asked to provide references; references will be contacted only following candidate consent. Final interviews will be held in Lee County with the Board of Commissioners. Candidates will be advised of the status of the recruitment following the selection of the County Attorney.
Lee County is an Equal Opportunity/AA/DFWP Employer. Preference in appointment will be given to eligible veterans and their spouses.
PURSUANT TO FLORIDA OPEN RECORDS LAW, APPLICATIONS AND RESUMES ARE SUBJECT TO DISCLOSURE.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Renee Narloch or Rachel Hanselman at: (850) 391-0000