The Town of Oro Valley has selected attorney Kelly Schwab to take over the seat of interim town attorney Tobin Sidles.
Sidles has been serving as the interim attorney since October, when former town attorney Tobin Rosen announced his impending retirement.
Schwab, based out of the Phoenix firm Curtis Goodwin, Sullivan, Udall & Schwab, PLC., will enter into an annual contract with the town.
“The selection was made through a competitive request for proposals process that evaluated the experience and qualifications of the firms and representative attorneys,” said Oro Valley Communications Administrator Misti Nowak. “The selected firm currently serves as town attorney for Gilbert, Litchfield Park, Wickenburg, Youngtown, Clifton, Miami, and Dewey-Humboldt.”
Nowak says Schwab was selected based on her 20 years experience in municipal law in multiple practice areas, including open meeting law, public records, employment, land use, development agreements, water, elections, and more.
Schwab will be primarily utilized for the sake of council meetings, though additional assignments may be implemented at the discretion of the town.
Schwab, who is familiar with the Tucson region, will attend her first council meeting on June 5.
“I started my career in the Tucson area representing Marana, so for me this it’s a bit like going home,” said Schwab. “This is the type of work my firm does, and the type of practice we really enjoy. Our heart and soul is representing towns in overcoming unique challenges.”
This is the first time the town has utilized an outside contract attorney as opposed to having an attorney on staff. It’s a change Caton says will prove beneficial to Oro Valley taxpayers.
“Implementing an annual contract as opposed to our usual practice will ultimately save the town money,” he said.
As opposed to paying an annual salary for a full-time town attorney, the town will pay Schwab a fixed annual fee of $20,000 for her attendance at town council meetings, and $175 per hour for any additional services rendered.
The exact dollar amount that will be saved is still to be determined.
“As this is the first time the town has utilized an outside contract attorney, the budget for the upcoming fiscal year was not changed,” said Nowak. “The amount spent above the $20,000 fixed fee is completely dependent on any additional work assigned to Ms. Schwab by the town.”
Before becoming a founding member of her current firm, Schwab obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona. In 2000-2001, she was awarded the Arizona State Bar Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.
No Tucson firms responded to the town’s request for proposal.