Corporation Counsel

Application Deadline: 2022-05-31
Job Type: County
Job Description:

The position of Corporation Counsel is a creature of statute (See: Section 59.42 Wisconsin Statutes). It would not exist but for the legislative act that brought it into being.

County Board authorized the establishment of the Office of Corporation Counsel. The County Administrator has the authority to appoint, supervise, and remove the Corporation Counsel. Such appointment and removal are subject to confirmation by the County Board.

The Corporation Counsel may, when authorized by a majority of the County Board, appoint one or more assistant corporation counsels to aid the corporation counsel in the performance of the duties of corporation counsel. Any assistant so appointed shall have authority to perform all the duties of the corporation counsel.

The powers and duties of the corporation counsel are set forth in Section 59.42 Wisconsin Statutes, and are summarized below. In brief, Corporation Counsel is in-house counsel and represents Door County in all legal matters of a civil nature.

Principle Duties & Powers
Prosecute and defend all civil actions or proceedings.
Interpret the powers and duties of boards, commissions, committees, departments, employees, and officers of the County.
Serve as legal adviser to boards, commissions, committees, departments, employees, and officers of the County.
Code drafting, interpretation, and enforcement.
Guardianships and protective placements (Chapters 54 and 55 Wisconsin Statutes).
Civil (i.e., mental and alcohol) commitments (Chapter 51 Wisconsin Statutes).
Land use and zoning, private on-site wastewater treatment systems, agricultural standards and prohibitions, and human health hazards.
Employment / Labor Relations.
This encompasses compliance with state and federal employment laws, regulations and rules; legal aspects of hiring, discipline and termination; legal aspects of negotiation, mediation and interest arbitration; legal aspects of grievances, up to and including arbitration; and representing the County in proceedings before the court, administrative bodies and various agencies.
Contract negotiation, drafting, review, interpretation, and/or enforcement.
Foreclosure of tax liens (by action In Rem or In Personam) and sale of tax delinquent real estate (Chapter 75 Wisconsin Statutes).
Render verbal and written opinions regarding ethics and conflict of interest issues (Sections 19.21 – 19.39 Wisconsin Statutes).
Public records (Sections 19.41 – 19.59 Wisconsin Statutes).
Open meetings (Sections 19.81 – 19.98 Wisconsin Statutes).
Real property acquisition / disposal.
Handle legal aspects of the purchase and sale of real estate by the County.
Public works projects.
Involved in the legal aspects of (e.g., land use and zoning, financing, risk management, drafting of documents, design, bidding, construction, oversight, and dispute resolution issues) public works projects.
Designated as the Director of Family Court Counseling Services pursuant to Section 767.405 Wisconsin Statutes.
Administers the Family Court Services program for Door County.
Contracts (under Section 767.405 (3)(c) Wisconsin Statutes) with and oversees a private entity to provide mediation.
Child Support Agency.
Assists the Child Support Agency on an as needed basis regarding paternity and child support matters. The Child Support Agency Director, on an as needed basis, serves as Assistant Corporation Counsel and aids Corporation Counsel. The Departments are separate and distinct entities.
Claims against county / officials / employees.
Door County’s liability insurance is through the Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation (WCMIC). The scope of liability protection provided by WCMIC is broad. Corporation Counsel oversees and assists outside counsel assigned by WCMIC to defend covered claims.
Defend all claims not covered by County’s liability insurance.
Miscellaneous matters.
Communications, election, information security and confidentiality, intellectual property, parliamentarian, referenda, and whatever other legal issues which may arise from time to time.
Responsible for monitoring and keeping up with developments in the law and advising Door County accordingly.
Supervise persons occupying the Assistant Corporation Counsel and Legal Administrative Assistant positions.
Establish and maintain harmonious and effective working relationships with county officials and employees, and the public.
As a general rule, all legal matters are handled in-house. Door County makes very judicious and infrequent use of outside counsel.

Training and Experience
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a juris doctorate from an accredited law school.
Duly admitted to practice law in Wisconsin and to the Eastern and Western District of the United States District Court of Wisconsin are required.
Minimum of ten (10) years of practicing law in the state of Wisconsin.
Litigation experience (i.e., trials to the court, jury trials, and administrative proceedings) is desirable.
Appellate experience is desirable.
Current valid Wisconsin driver’s license required.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required
Basic computer skills to include the ability to use programs such as word-processors, spreadsheets, database programs, and presentation software. Ability to use email and the Internet are required.
Ability to conduct legal research (i.e., paper, computer assisted and online); to prepare materials for court and administrative proceedings; and to evaluate, summarize and report results.
Knowledge of civil procedure, rules of evidence, municipal law, real estate law, parliamentary procedure, child support matters, public sector labor/employment matters, and land use and planning are desirable.
Ability to read, comprehend, and communicate, both verbally and in writing as well as effectively administer by written, and verbal communications. Ability to communicated effectively, work with people, and to diplomatically handle potentially explosive situations.
Ability to timely handle complex projects with a minimum of guidance and supervision. This includes the capacity to work well under pressure and ability to complete quality work within tight deadlines.
Have high integrity, a high degree of common sense, possess well-honed problem analysis skills, and be decisive making sound judgments and decisions.
Ability to explain legal issues and to recommend prudent courses of action in plain English that is easily understandable.
Familiarity with alternative dispute resolution processes a plus.
Ability to take direction and constructive criticism.
Ability to work evenings and weekends upon short notice.
Ability to use tack and courtesy in maintaining an effective working relationship with department employees, county supervisors, county officials, and general public.

Deadline Note:

WCA President & CEO Mark O'Connell received Racine County Executive @jdelagrave “Community Impact Award” last night for his close working relationship with the county on a variety of projects impacting not only Racine County but also all of Wisconsin. @NACoTweets

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