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The Department of Law shall be headed by the Director of Law and commencing with the regular municipal election in the year 2005, and every fourth (4th) year thereafter, the Director of Law shall be elected for a term of four (4) years. The Director of Law’s term shall commence and they shall assume office on the first day of January following their election and shall serve out their term or until their successor is elected and qualified, whichever occurs last. During the Director of Law’s term of office they shall continue to be a resident and qualified elector of the Municipality. The Director of Law shall appoint all assistant directors of law and office staff; assistant directors of law shall be subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of Council. The Director of Law shall be a qualified elector at the time of their election, shall have been a resident of the City for at least eighteen (18) months immediately preceding their election, an attorney at law duly admitted to the practice of law before the courts of the State of Ohio, and been engaged in the active practice of law in Ohio for a period of six (6) continuous years immediately preceding their election. The annual salary for the Director of Law for the term commencing January 1, 2014 and each succeeding term thereafter shall be fixed by Council at least forty-five (45) days prior to the time a person is required to file nominating petitions for the office of Director of Law for that particular term. The annual salary may be increased but shall not be decreased during the term it was set.
The Director of Law shall serve the Mayor, the various administrative departments, boards, and officers of the Municipality and the Council, as attorney and legal counsel, and shall represent the Municipality in all proceedings in courts of law and before any administrative body. The Director of Law or their designee shall attend all Council meetings and Committee meetings of Council. The Director of Law shall perform all other duties now or hereafter imposed by law upon directors of law of cities unless otherwise provided by ordinance of Council. The Director of Law shall act as the Prosecuting Attorney of the City.
Council may, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members of Council after public hearing, expel or remove the Director of Law from office for gross misconduct, malfeasance, nonfeasance, misfeasance in or disqualification for office; for violation of their oath of office; for conviction while in office of a crime involving moral turpitude; or for mental or physical disability rendering it impossible for them to perform the duties of the Director of Law. Prior to any such action by Council, the Director of Law shall be notified in writing of the charge against them at least ten (10) days in advance of the hearing upon such charge, and they and their counsel shall be given an opportunity to be heard, present evidence or examine any witness appearing in support of such charge.
In the event the office of Director of Law shall become vacant, for any reason, the Mayor shall appoint an Acting Director of Law subject to confirmation of Council. During their term of service, an Acting Director of Law shall be paid the salary established by Council for the position of Acting Director of Law. The Acting Director of Law shall be an attorney-at-law licensed to practice before the Courts of the State of Ohio but need not be resident of the municipality. The Council shall, within fourteen (14) days after the vacancy occurs, provide for a special election, with no preliminary primary, to be held one hundred twenty (120) days from the date of the vacancy to fill such vacancy. The candidates for the special election shall be chosen in the following described manner:
(1) Any candidate who files a nominating petition that is signed by not less than two hundred fifty (250) qualified electors shall be a candidate at the special election.
(2) Unless otherwise provided by the Constitution or the general laws of the State of Ohio, all candidates must file their nominating petitions not later than 4:00 p.m. of the 60th day before the day of the special election. The person receiving the largest number of votes in the special election shall become Director of Law and take office upon certification by the Board of Elections, and they shall serve for the unexpired term of office. They may be a candidate to succeed themself.
(Amended 11-2-10; 11-3-20.)