City of San Mateo Law Library
San Mateo City Charter.

2.18 City Attorney. Powers and Duties.

There shall be a city attorney who shall be appointed by and who shall serve at the pleasure of the council. The city attorney shall be an attorney at law licensed as such under the laws of this state, a specialist in municipal law, and must have been engaged in the practice of law for three years or have served in the capacity of municipal attorney or assistant municipal attorney for at least three years prior to appointment. The city attorney shall have the power and be required to:

(a) Serve as chief legal advisor to the council, the manager, and all city departments, offices and agencies.

(b) Prepare proposed ordinances and resolutions and advise the council as to their compliance with law and the provisions of this Charter, and draft contracts and other legal documents required by the council or other officials except as may be otherwise provided.

(c) Prior to the general municipal election each two years to review all city ordinances and the Charter, and at the first regular meeting of the council after such election make recommendations to the council for amendments to or repeal of ordinances and enactment of new ordinances in the city attorney's opinion required to improve the ordinance code, and for any Charter amendments the city attorney may deem advisable.

(d) Attend all meetings of the council unless excused by the council or the mayor.

(e) Perform any other duties prescribed by law, this Charter, or ordinance, or as the council may from time to time require not inconsistent with law or this Charter.

The city council may authorize the city attorney to hire additional attorneys and personnel for the city attorney's legal staff. Except as may otherwise be provided in this Charter or in ordinances relating to personnel approved by vote of the people, the city attorney's staff shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the city attorney.

The city attorney shall receive such compensation for services as the council shall determine. When the city attorney is an in-house employee of the city, the city council may remove the city attorney at any time by the affirmative vote of a majority of the council plus one.