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The Law Department shall have the power and its duty shall be to perform the following functions:
(a) Legal Advice. It shall furnish legal advice to the Mayor, to the Council and to all officers, departments, boards and commissions concerning any matter or thing arising in connection with the exercise of their official powers or performance of their official duties and except as otherwise expressly provided, shall supervise, direct and control all of the law work of the City.
(b) Litigation. The Department shall collect by suit or otherwise all debts, taxes and accounts due the City which shall be placed with it for collection by any officer, department, board or commission, and it shall represent the City and every officer, department, board or commission in all litigation. It shall keep a proper docket, or dockets, duly indexed, in which it shall make and preserve memoranda of all such claims, showing whether they are in litigation and their nature and status.
(c) Contracts and Bonds. The Department shall prepare or approve all contracts, bonds and other instruments in writing in which the City is concerned, and shall approve all surety bonds required to be given for the protection of the City. It shall keep a proper registry of all such contracts, bonds and instruments.
(d) Investigation and Law Enforcement. With the approval of the Mayor, the Department shall investigate any violation or alleged violation within the City of the statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the ordinances of the City which may come to its notice, and shall take such steps and adopt such means as may be reasonably necessary to enforce within the City such statutes and ordinances.
(e) Drafting and Codification of Ordinances. Upon request of the Council or of any councilmember, or of the Mayor, the Department shall prepare or assist in preparing any ordinance for introduction into the Council, and within two years after the effective date of this charter, it shall prepare and submit to the Council for its consideration, a comprehensive revision and codification of all the general ordinances of the City which are still in effect. 93
Sources: Act of June 25, 1919, P.L. 581, Article XIII, Sections 3 and 4; the Administrative Code of 1929, Act of April 9, 1929, P.L. 177, Article IX, as amended.
Purposes: 1. The Law Department is to be the legal advisor of the Mayor, the Council and all the agencies of the City government. Its work will be primarily concerned with civil rather than criminal aspects of law enforcement. It will thus handle all City litigation. It will prepare and approve for legal sufficiency all City contracts and bonds. It will assist the Council, the Mayor and City agencies in the preparation of ordinances for introduction into Council.
2. To the extent that the Mayor approves, the Law Department is empowered to investigate violations within the City of State laws or City ordinances and to take reasonably necessary steps to bring about the enforcement of such statutes or ordinances. This section is not intended to transfer to the Law Department the traditional prosecuting powers of the office of the District Attorney, but it does empower the Law Department, short of exercising such powers, to act in the law enforcement field.
3. The Law Department is charged with the specific duty of preparing for submission to the Council a comprehensive revision and codification of all the general ordinances of the City which are still in effect. See Annotation to Section 2-304.