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Ashland gets new city attorney

Ashland City Council unanimously approved the appointment of Katrina Brown as city attorney Tuesday.

Brown assumed the role of interim city attorney following former city attorney David Lohman’s retirement in June.

The city received three applications during the recruitment process, which opened July 12, according to interim City Manager Gary Milliman.

Two candidates were interviewed, and Brown emerged as the strongest candidate given her municipal government experience, Milliman said. Her appointment “will also ensure continuity of legal services,” according to a written process summary from Mayor Julie Akins and Milliman to the council.

“I will assure you that it was a rigorous interview,” Akins told the City Council Tuesday. “We asked some serious questions in two different interviews [with Brown], and we did interview the other person with the same level of rigor.”

The other applicant interviewed is an Oregon resident but lacked the municipal law experience necessary for the position, according to council documents. The third applicant lives in Washington, D.C. and was not interviewed.

Brown began working alongside Lohman in September 2017 and dedicated about half of her time as assistant city attorney operating Ashland’s municipal court, according to former city manager Adam Hanks.

During the interview, Brown demonstrated familiarity with leadership policies, goals and city organization, understanding of complex issues and her role as a legal advisor, and comfort working in a public setting, according to council documents.

Brown served as assistant city attorney for Salem for 10 years and as deputy district attorney in Douglas County for more than seven years. She was admitted to the Oregon State Bar in April 1997.

The city attorney provides legal counsel to the mayor, City Council and Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission, reviews and signs ordinance and resolution changes, assists every department with contract procurement, serves a key role in union negotiations, and acts as parliamentarian in City Council meetings.

“I feel that Katrina Brown has been serving us well,” said Councilor Stefani Seffinger. “I have confidence in her and I think that she’s a good selection.”

Milliman said the recruitment processes for finance director and city manager have so far returned four and 13 applications respectively. Applications can be submitted until Oct. 13.

Reach reporter Allayana Darrow at adarrow@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4497.