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Council picks new city attorney

Posted: August 31, 2012 - 8:40am

In a special council meeting Monday the Kenai City Council selected a new city attorney to fill the position when Krista Stearns resigns Sept. 5 for her new, out-of-state position.

Currently the assistant attorney for the borough, 37-year-old Scott Bloom will come to the job with already six years experience in municipal law, a factor that Stearns said is imperative for the job.

“In the area of municipal law you have to be much more of a generalist,” Stearns said. “I would say a jack of all trades and a master of none.”

A city attorney provides legal advice to the mayor, council and various city staff.

Other attorneys, such as bankruptcy or family law attorneys, have the luxury of specialization, but Stearns said a city attorney in a given day may juggle a handful of assignments in numerous fields.

In one day she said she may draft a lease for retail space in the airport, prosecute traffic violators in court, advise city personnel with grievance issues or review bylaws for the senior center.

While Mayor Pat Porter said the two other applicants were strong candidates, she liked that Bloom is a “team player” and open to learning the intricacies of the job. 

Bloom said he has a passion for the job and experience from working with the borough. He is eager to start his new job, Porter said.

“I’m very excited to start work, although it’s going to be hard for me to leave the borough,” he said.

Bloom’s starting date is still uncertain as the city negotiates his contract.

Because the city council anticipates a brief gap between when Stearns steps out and Bloom steps in, Gilman and Associates Attorney Cary Graves, the previous city attorney, has agreed to offer his services as an interim attorney during the transition time.

Stearns said Graves will be able to satisfy the general requirement of the position, but he will have trouble with the daily workings of the job.

In those instances she said she is happy to clarify with an in-person visit or a phone call.

She will also help Bloom transition to his new position when his hiring date is set.

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