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Role of the Office

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The City Attorney is an executive officer of the City of Fort Lauderdale pursuant to the City Charter and is assisted by an appointed group of Assistant City Attorneys to aid in the delivery of legal services. These attorneys and their professional legal support staff are equipped with a broad range of experience, specialization and certification that are vital to the effective operation of the office. The City Attorney's Office is organized into three divisions: City Attorney's Office, City Prosecutor's Office and Police Legal Unit. Each division operates from separate locations for efficiency.

Below is an excerpt of the relevant sections of the City's Charter.

Sec. 4.10. - City attorney; appointment; qualifications; compensation.

The city commission shall appoint a city attorney who shall be employed under such terms and conditions as it may deem advisable. The city attorney shall be a lawyer of at least two (2) years' experience and practice in the courts of the State of Florida. The city attorney shall receive such compensation as the city commission may by resolution fix and designate. Neither the city attorney nor any of his assistants shall receive any compensation in connection with the performance of the duties of the office other than the amounts paid directly by the city for services rendered to the city. The city commission may, by resolution, authorize one (1) or more special counsel to be retained for the purpose of performing such legal duties as may be prescribed by said resolution. Each such resolution shall further prescribe the compensation to be paid the special counsel.

Sec. 4.11. - Assistants to the city attorney.

Upon the recommendation of the city attorney, a deputy city attorney may be appointed by resolution of the city commission. Assistant city attorneys shall be appointed by the city attorney. The deputy city attorney and assistant city attorneys shall be in the exempt service and may be suspended, demoted or removed by the city attorney. The compensation of the deputy city attorney and assistant city attorneys shall be established by the provisions of the city's pay plan.

Sec. 4.12. - Duties.

The city attorney shall be the legal advisor to, and attorney and counselor for, the municipality and all of its officers in matters relating to their official duties, and is further charged with the responsibility of prosecuting offenders against the ordinances of City of Fort Lauderdale, and to that end he or his delegated assistants shall:

(a) Attend the meetings of the city commission and advise the city commission on all points of law and parliamentary procedure.

(b) Prepare all ordinances and resolutions required by the city commission for adoption or enactment.

(c) Prepare, and/or review, all contracts and other instruments in writing in which the municipality is concerned, and endorse on each his approval of the form and correctness thereof (except that municipal bonds need not be endorsed with the approval of the city attorney as to form and correctness thereof), and no formal contract with the municipality shall take effect until such approval is so endorsed thereon.

(d) Protect and defend on behalf of the city all complaints, suits and controversies in which the city is a party, or, when required to do so by the city commission, file any action on behalf of the city.

(e) Furnish the city commission or the city manager, when requested to do so, his opinion on questions of law relating to any legal matter or to the powers, duties, obligations, or liability of any officer or employee of the city.

(f) Act as the legal advisor to any city board or department.

(g) If required to do so, compile and codify the laws and ordinances of the City of Fort Lauderdale into a Code of Ordinances; but the city may contract for such work to be performed by other persons and may allow special compensation for such work.

(h) Perform such other professional duties as may be required of him by this charter or by ordinance or resolution of the city commission.

(i) The deputy city attorney and assistant city attorneys shall work under the supervision of the city attorney, and perform such duties as he shall require of them. In such cases they shall have the same powers as the city attorney. 

The City Attorney’s Office is not authorized to provide legal advice to the general public. Please see our community legal resources page for suggested sites of entities that may be able to assist with your legal needs.