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To provide timely, thorough, and superior legal advice to the City Council, City staff, and the various City boards, commissions and committees so that they can more effectively analyze legal options and impacts of any management or policy decision. The City Attorney's office provides timely legal staff support and advice to the City Council, City Manager, Commissions, and City Departments in all matters of law relating to the operation of the City. The City Attorney is the legal advisor for the City Council, the Commissions, and City staff. In that role, the City Attorney's Office provides legal advice to enable staff to effectively analyze various available options and the impacts of any management or policy decision.The work of the City Attorney's Office includes the following:

  • Agenda Material: Review and research legal issues and provide legal opinions, advice, and suggestions to staff and Council.
  • Planning Matters: Review matters and research legal issues and provide legal opinions, advice, and suggestions to staff and Council.
  • Public Contracts: Review and revise City form contract documents in order to comply with changing law, practices, policies, and experiences. In addition, any particular contracts (both City form contracts, special contracts, and outside contracts) will be reviewed, and when acceptable as to form, so noted. The City Attorney prepares contracts with respect to particular and unique matters.
  • Legislation: Provide legislation that accomplishes the desired policy and is legally defensible.
  • Animal Control: Resolve Animal Control issues and disputes either by negotiation or court order.
  • Public Nuisance Abatement and Municipal Code Violations: Eliminate conduct and conditions within the City that are characterized as a public nuisance and obtain compliance with the Municipal Code either by negotiation or court order.
  • Brown Act: Provide Council, Commissions, Boards, Committees and staff with information necessary to meet the requirements of the Brown Act and avoid any real or perceived violations.
  • Public Records Act/Subpoenas: Review all Public Records Act requests and comply with the Public Records Act by providing the public with public records on a timely basis.
  • Election Laws: Provide advice to the City to assure that all legal requirements are met regarding elections.
  • Affordable Housing: Assist and provide advice as to various legal issues regarding affordable housing so that the goals established by the General Plan and Council are met.
  • Public Notice and Procedural Requirements: Provide advice to staff to assure adequate public notice and due process to applicants and the public.
  • Political Reform Act: Provide Council, Commissions, Boards and staff with information regarding compliance with the Political Reform Act and, in particular, conflicts of interest in order to avoid any real or perceived violations and to secure the public trust.
  • Special Projects: Provide legal advice, recommendations, and support to reach the ultimate goals and policies of the City regarding special projects.
  • Civil Rights: Provide advice and recommendations as to procedure and process in order to provide due process and protect the City from claims of civil rights violations.
  • Insurance/Indemnification Issues: Provide input as to the protection of the City in terms of legal costs and liability exposure.
  • Miscellaneous Staff and City Council Advice: Provide advice and suggestions with respect to the various miscellaneous legal issues that arise and provide information regarding options and potential risks with respect to any given course of action.
  • City Council Meetings: Attend and provide support, assistance, and advice to the Council during Council meetings and obtain information and potential issues to be reviewed by the City Attorney's office when necessary.
  • Litigation: Provide litigation support and assistance to the City to achieve favorable outcomes and results for the City in any litigation defended or initiated.

Citizens seeking legal advice or assistance are encouraged to call the following:
Sonoma County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service: 707.546.5297
Sonoma County Legal Aid: 707.542.1290


City Attorney, Eric W. Danly
11 English St.
Petaluma, CA 94952
Voicemail only: 707.778.4362