Legal Department

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Mission statement

To enhance public safety and quality of life for Bloomington residents through fair and effective prosecution of crimes and civil administrative offenses occurring in the community, to protect the City's assets by proactively providing timely and effective legal counsel to the City, its elected officials, staff and boards and commissions, and to assist in the vigorous defense of claims brought or threatened against the City, all in a highly cost-effective, collaborative, and focused manner.

General duties

The City Attorney's Office is responsible for the prosecution of all non-felony cases committed by adults occurring in the City. The Office also provides legal representation and general counsel services to all City departments, the City Council, and all City Boards and Commissions. The City Attorney is Sandra H. Johnson. The City Attorney is assisted by three full-time Associate City Attorneys in the Criminal Division, two full-time Associate City Attorneys in the Civil Division, one Associate City Attorney who works in both Divisions and the City's Risk and Litigation Manager. In addition, the Office is supported by an Officer Manager/Paralegal, a Legal Secretary and two Office Assistants.

Criminal Division

The Associate City Attorneys handling criminal prosecution appear in Hennepin County District Court, generally at the Southdale Division IV Court located at 7009 York Avenue South, Edina, 612-348-2040. If a case is contested and a jury trial demanded, the trial is normally conducted downtown at the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 South 6th Street, Minneapolis. Typical misdemeanor offenses include driving under the influence of alcohol, domestic assault, violation of orders for protection, simple assault, trespassing, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, theft or damage to property where the value of the property is less than $1000, careless and reckless driving, and petty traffic offenses.

All felony level offenses are handled by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, 612-348-5550, www.hennepinattorney.org.

All juvenile matters are handled by the Hennepin County Juvenile Division, 612-348-7916. If the juvenile offense is either a petty misdemeanor or DWI, the Bloomington City Attorney's Office will prosecute.

Civil Division

The Associate City Attorneys work with the City Attorney to provide legal advice and services to the City's elected officials, various City departments and all City boards and commissions. These matters include:

  • Drafting City ordinances, policies, procedures, and some state legislation, that are capable of fair and even-handed enforcement and which provide clear direction to residents and businesses of their rights and responsibilities;
  • Communicating with City residents and businesses, where there appears to be a property management problem that could potentially involve enforcement actions against them, to identify best practices and other solutions to achieve long-term compliance with applicable laws;
  • Drafting written legal opinions and training materials to advise and guide the City’s elected officials, supervisors and volunteer commission and board members with respect to the state and federal statutory and constitutional provisions relating to the performance of their job duties;
  • Reviewing and drafting City employment rules and policies in a manner that provides clear notice to employees of their rights and responsibilities, complies with all applicable state and federal laws and promotes the City’s mission to be a productive organization providing quality services;
  • Arbitrating labor disputes and litigating employment matters;
  • Applying the City and State land use and zoning laws to specific cases;
  • Negotiating and structuring public financing for public infrastructure essential to large scale private developments that will increase the City’s tax base and job force;
  • Negotiating and finalizing City real estate transactions by mutually agreed upon terms of sale or acquisition or by eminent domain;
  • Enforcing the City and State Building, Health and Sanitation Codes, including the declaration of premises as unfit for human habitation, removal of hazardous buildings, the temporary closure of pools or restaurants where conditions threaten the public health;
  • Negotiating, drafting and reviewing all City contracts, development agreements and professional service agreements;
  • Negotiating telecommunications agreements and other private requests to use City property or right of way.
  • Enforcing City and State licensing laws;
  • Participating in the defense of all civil claims against the City in the state and federal courts.

 

For more information, contact:

Bloomington City Attorney's Office
1800 West Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington, Minnesota 55431-3027
PH: 952-563-8753; FAX: 952-563-8520, TTY: 952-563-8740

 

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