Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Kansas City, Kansas (pop. 169,245) This merged city/county is conducting a national search for an experienced Chief Legal Counsel with strong communication, public law experience, and cultural competency skills.  The ideal candidate will be a proven and articulate local attorney who will be adept at explaining and following up on Kansas state and local government law in public meetings and with their legal team.  The Unified Government/Wyandotte County is a unique, dynamicand transforming public service entity that is ready to embrace new legal team leadership 
The Kansas City metro area is the home to nearly two million residents over 4,423 square miles.  Kansas City, Kansas/Wyandotte County is central to the entire region with easy access to interstates I-70, I-635, and I-435.  The Unified Government’s offices are located 24 miles from the Kansas City International Airport (MCI) and four miles from Kansas City, Missouri.
Wyandotte County is the fourth-most populous county in Kansas and hosts the University of Kansas Medical Center, the Kansas City, Kansas Community College, Donnelly College, and the Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences/Magnet schoolthe highest ranked high school in Kansas The General Motors Fairfax plant provides 2,100 jobs and manufactures the Chevrolet Malibu and Cadillac XT4.  
Wyandotte County residents are regularly treated to Kansas Speedway, Sporting KC, and Children’s Mercy Soccer events, as well ashopping at the Legends, a premier retail and entertainment destination with 100 shops, dining, and entertainment options.  Niche ranked Wyandotte County the fifth best county for young professionals in Kansas and one of the best counties for outdoor activities in Kansas, including the popular Wyandotte County Lake.  
Wyandotte County is one of the most urbanized and diverse counties in the state; 58% of UG Wyandotte County residents are Hispanic, Black, Asian, or mixed races.  Individuals who identify as Hispanic are the largest ethnic group at 30% of the total population.  Wyandotte County fully embraces diversity of culture, people, and the economy.  
Kansas City Kansas and Wyandotte County founded its consolidated city/county form of government in 1997 with a County Administrator overseeing both functions. The County encompasses four cities (Kansas City, City Bonner Springs, Edwardsville, and part of Lake Quivira).
The Unified Government is classified as a Mayor/Chief Executive; Commission; County Administrator form of government. The Unified Government Board of Commissioners is composed of a Mayor/CEO elected at-large and (10) Commission members.  All elected positions are non-partisan.  Eight (8) of the Commission members are elected from districts. Two (2) are elected at-large. The Board of Commission is the policy-making authority and operates with the assistance of four standing committees (Administration & Human Services, Public Works & Safety, Neighborhood & Community Development, and Economic development & Finance
The Chief Legal Counsel is appointed by the County Administrator and is charged with oversight and direction of the Unified Government legal department.  The Chief Counsel provides legal advice to the County Administrator, Mayor, Board of Commissioner and staff on policy formulation and other Unified Government actions.  The incumbent provides overall guidance, supervision of the Unified Government attorneys and legal staff and implements, develops overall Unified Government legal strategy.  
Specific duties include: representing Unified Government in all legal matters; providing solid verbal advicat Board meetings to questions raised regarding procedure and policy formulation, followed up by written opinions; determining applicable laws, rules and regulations; providing guidance to  staff attorneys; determining trial and appellate strategy and advisability of settlement; preparing formal legal opinions; drafting documents; reviewing contracts; investigating claims; assisting in making administrative decisions; advising and consulting on new initiatives and special projects; drafting, reviewing and negotiating legal documents; assisting in development of administrative policies; and attending Board meetings and various other public meetings.
The County Administrator is the chief administrative officer and is responsible to the Board of Commissioners for administration of all Unified Government affairs within the County Administrator’s charge.  The County Administrator directs and supervises the day-to-day operations of all county and city departments and agencies, as well as the appointment of non-elected department heads, including the Chief Legal Counsel.  The County Administrator's Office is responsible for preparation and submission of the annual Unified Government budget to the Mayor and Commission. The County Administrator serves as the Board of Commissioners’ official liaison to the elected constitutional officers, the judiciary, and state and regional agencies.
The Mayor’s office is responsible for the Board of Commissioners’ agenda in consultation with the County Administrator, appointing committees, breaking ties, providing leadership to the unified government in the development of long-range plans and policies and the development of priorities for actions and in planning for economic growth and stability of the unified government and addressing the recommendations of the County Administrator in conjunction with the Board of Commissioners.  
The Unified Government employs approximately 2,300 staff covering a full range of city and county services.  Employees are represented by 13 bargaining units.  The operations budget totals $432 million and includes a General Fund of $165 million for Kansas City, Kansas and $80 million for Wyandotte County.
The successful candidate is required to have: 
Candidate Requirements: 
  • Juris Doctorate 
  • 7 to 10 years of experience in municipal law litigation and administration or related work experience or, an equivalent combination of education and experience sufficient to successfully perform the essential duties of the job
  • Knowledge of Kansas law, federal law, and organizational structure and services provided by local government.
  • Membership in the Kansas State Bar, or demonstrated ability to do so within six months
  • License to practice law in the State of Kansas and admission to state and federal court, or a demonstrated ability to do so within six months
  • Supervisory experience with demonstrated ability to effectively plan, organize, and supervise the work of others
  • Demonstrate knowledge of:
    • Municipal legal principles;
    • Commission rules and procedures;
    • Planning commission bylaws;
    • Litigation tactics;
    • Rules of Civil Procedures and Evidence;
    • Trial Strategies;
    • Kansas Constitutional Home Rule and Statutory Home Rule for Counties and Case Law or demonstrated ability to become proficient within six months. 
  • Demonstrated sound and ethical judgment
  • Demonstrated ability to articulate legal opinions in public meetings followed up by written, well-researched opinions
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with associates, employees of other Departments, representatives of other organizations, City officials, and the public.  
  • Strong skills in collaboration and intergovernmental cooperation
  • Residency within one year; 
  • City or County legal experience in an organization of comparable size and complexity
  • Skilled in Kansas labor relations law 
Compensation & Benefits 

The annual salary range for this position is $175,000 to $200,000 DOQ/E.  The Unified Government/Wyandotte County offers a generous compensation and benefits package, including medical, dental, vision, life insurance, deferred compensation 457 plan, possible relocation assistance, and all other provisions of the Unified Government Human Resources Guide
Submit a cover letter, resume, and contact information for five professional references. For questions call Ryan Cotton at 847-380-3240, ext. 114.  Candidates’ applications remain confidential until the finalist stage.
The Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas values diversity & inclusion in its workforce.  Equal Opportunity/ADA Employer. Position open until filled.
Anticipated start date:  September 25, 2023

Application Deadline: Open until filled

Posted: 2023-07-18

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