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Chief Counsel

Olathe, KS
Full Time
Exp.: 10+ Years
Johnson County, Kansas is a vibrant community with a national reputation for excellence. With a total budget of $1.1 billion including reserves, and a Aaa/AAA bond rating; it is one of the nation’s premier counties, providing comprehensive services to its citizens in its role as a leading organization in the state. The Johnson County community is nestled in the southwestern quadrant of the Kansas City metropolitan area and exhibits all of the hallmarks of a great community: a thriving and growing business sector, nationally-recognized public schools, first-class cultural and recreational amenities, and distinctive and welcoming neighborhoods. Johnson County is a growing and diverse community of approximately 604,000 residents spanning 477 square miles.

At Johnson County Government, we challenge ourselves to be a different kind of government because we care deeply about our community and each other. Committed to our shared values, we provide excellent public service, seeking always to improve ourselves and our organization. We offer wonderful benefits, retirement plans, wellness incentives, a great organizational culture, and much more.

The Board of County Commissioners of Johnson County Government in Olathe, Kansas, is seeking a successful candidate to fill the position of Chief Counsel to serve as the primary legal officer on all non-criminal legal matters for Johnson County Government, providing professional advice, general counsel, legal services, and professional representation for the County, its officials, and its agencies and departments. Chief Counsel serves at the pleasure of the Board of County Commissioners and is assessed annually by the Board. The County Manager provides day-to-day supervision and performance management of the Chief Counsel position as the Director of Legal Services for administrative and operational purposes. Chief Counsel and the Legal Services department performs legal services to County departments and agencies in all civil legal matters and disciplines from airports to buses, from personnel to zoning, from contracts to litigation, and from tax appeals to wastewater districts. This position requires the highest degree of professionalism and must operate within the ethical boundaries of both the legal profession and public administration, often interpreting those boundaries for others and for official actions. This vacancy will remain open until filled, first review of applications will begin at 5:00pm on Friday, February 21, 2020.

Responsibilities of the Chief Counsel include:
  • Provides professional advice, counsel and legal representation to the Board of County Commissioners and County Manager: Reviews and evaluates issues and proposed actions to determine advisability, consistency with legal standards and County policies, potential consequences, and alternate actions or solutions; develops and recommends courses of action to accomplish defined objectives, solve identified problems, and respond to questions; prepares and renders opinions, memoranda, interpretations, resolutions, documents and correspondence on legal, policy, and County business matters; conducts research and analysis on projects, policies, issues, practices and problems; attends and participates at meetings, work sessions, and other proceedings of the Board; meets and consults with Board Members and County Manager, keeping them informed and advised on County matters.
  • Directs the County Legal Services Department and the provision of legal services to County agencies, departments, and offices: Hires, trains, assigns, coaches, develops and supervises staff for the performance of legal services; creates, implements and actively manages a succession plan that identifies and transfers crucial job skills, knowledge, social relationship and organizational practices to prepare the next generation of workers, thereby ensuring the seamless movement of talent within the department; sets departmental policies, standards and expectations and consults with staff to achieve and evaluate performance; supervises the administration of office operations, including budget preparation, authorization for financial transactions, determination of personnel actions and issues, and oversight of schedules; supervises the retention and use of special or outside legal counsel services through the Legal Department or by other County officials; attends and participates in County management activities. Actively participates regularly on the County’s Executive Leadership and Management Teams and serves as necessary on organizational teams, committees and other assignments.
  • Represents the County and its officials in legal and other proceedings: Prepares, reviews, signs and files pleadings and legal documents on behalf of the County and its officials; conducts investigation, analysis, and evaluations of claims, cases, actions or proceedings; develops strategies and recommendations; appears and makes presentations at proceedings with or on behalf of County officials; conducts interviews and responds to inquiries from the press, officials, and citizens; consults with and supervises supporting staff; develops and participates in/implements strategies, negotiations, and mediation positions; prepares briefs, position statements, documents and presentations.
  • Provides advice, counsel, and legal services to County departments, agencies, and officials: Reviews and evaluates issues and proposed actions; presents legal and policy interpretations, recommendations and direction; prepares opinions, memoranda, resolutions, documents, analysis and correspondence; attends and conducts meetings, consultations, presentations, and investigations; resolves problems, claims, disputes, negotiations and questions.
  • Provides executive management and leadership for County Government: Foresees and anticipates issues and advisable actions for the Board, County Manager, and County officials, and presents information and recommendations for consideration; actively supports, communicates and enacts practices and decisions of the Board, County Manager and key decision-makers; acts for and on behalf of the Board and County Manager when authorized or necessary; directs and/or participates in programs or projects to achieve County objectives or assignments; demonstrates accepted standards and values to ethically represent the County and citizens, presents collaborative demeanor and work ethic; develops creative strategies and solutions to issues and problems for the performance of services beneficial to the County and citizens; develops skills and knowledge to enhance performance and coach others for continuous improvement; leads the development of a High Performing Organization through active demonstration of the County’s Pillars of Performance.

Job Requirements
  • A Juris Doctorate degree, or equivalent, from an accredited Law School; licensed to practice law in the State of Kansas or admitted to the Kansas Bar within six months; ten (10) years of professional experience practicing law, with seven (7) years of experience in government law, with a wide variety of local government matters and issues; and five (5) years of demonstrated administrative and supervisory experience required.
  • Government law experience in municipal or local law preferred.
  • The selected candidate must be able to successfully complete required criminal and motor vehicle background screenings.
  • Johnson County is an equal opportunity/equal access employer and offers a competitive salary and benefits package. The expected salary range for this position is $139,776 to $225,000 annually and will be based on experience.

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