After a six-month search, Scottsdale has narrowed its pool of candidates for the city’s legal chief.
The city has named four finalists to fill the lead city attorney job left vacant by David Pennartz, who left his post Aug. 15 after three years to start a private law practice. Pennartz gave notice in March.
The finalists, culled from 45 candidates, are:
• Joseph R. Bertoldo, city attorney for Flagstaff since 1981.
• Kay Bigelow, city attorney for Casa Grande since 1995; former Scottsdale city prosecutor and former deputy Pima County attorney.
• Katharina Richter, chief civil deputy attorney for Pima County since 2000; former senior assistant attorney for Tucson and private law firms.
• Judy K. Skousen, assistant city attorney for Chandler since 1998; former deputy Yuma County attorney; former assistant city attorney for Bakersfield, Calif., and other California municipalities.
The council is scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. Wednesday to begin interviews in closed sessions. A decision is expected before the end of the year. The city attorney is appointed by and reports to the council.
"The council actually helped define what it wanted in a city attorney," said Neil Shearer, general manager of human resources for the city.
Scottsdale paid Shannon Executive Search of Sacramento, Calif., $11,000 to conduct a national search. But to work in Arizona as a lawyer, a person must be certified in the state, which means outsiders would have to pass the state bar exam, Shearer said.
The firm helped the city create a four-page color brochure specifically for city attorney candidates, detailing the city’s highlights, political structure, issues and history. Ideal characteristics and experience for the next city attorney include membership to the Arizona Bar Association and maintaining a sense of humor, according to the brochure. It was mailed to 100 lawyers in the area and advertisements run in trade publications, newspapers and on the Internet.
Although the annual salary is not listed, benefits include 15 days of vacation, nine holidays, one floating holiday and 12 days’ annual medical leave. Pennartz was paid $125,316 annually.
The new city attorney is expected to move to Scottsdale within six months of employment and will oversee a law department of 50 employees, about half of them lawyers.