Steamboat Springs city attorney to retire after 21 years of service
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs City Attorney Tony Lettunich is retiring after giving the city legal advice for more than two decades.
Lettunich, who has practiced law in Steamboat almost 40 years, was appointed city attorney in 1994.
Lettunich told council members Tuesday he would like to have a new city attorney in place before a new city council is seated in early November.
The city is now advertising for the position, and the council will make the appointment.
Council members thanked Lettunich for his many years of service.
Councilman Walter Magill, who has worked with Lettunich for the past eight years, said the longtime city attorney has been a sure hand with valuable knowledge of the city’s legal history.
“He’s been a good asset to the council while I’ve been on it,” Magill said. “He’s kept us from falling on our faces on things.”
Magill recalled a recent situation in which Lettunich was able to promptly remind the council of a legal agreement, signed in mid-2000, that outlined the city’s contractual obligations to maintain Howelsen Hill in events such as a landslide.
Some council members had been publicly questioning whether to proceed with the repairs.
Had the council strayed from any part of the agreement, Magill said, it could have led to legal trouble.
“In my experience, the councils haven’t really crossed a line and been part of a lawsuit for their decisions” with Lettunich as city attorney, Magill said.
Lettunich has worked with current law partner, John Vanderbloemen, since 1980.
Lettunich plans to retire from his firm Dec. 31.
The council agreed Tuesday to change the structure of the city attorney position after Lettunich’s retirement.
While Lettunich was contracted to serve as city attorney while also maintaining his own law practice, the new city attorney will be a city employee.
The attorney still will be appointed by the council and serve at the council’s pleasure, just as the city manager does.
Lettunich told the council he had planned on leaving the position earlier for retirement, but “the unprecedented press of issues over the last seven to eight months made me modify that and alter the timetable for the sake of continuity.”
Recent legal issues at the city have included the internal police investigation that led to the departures of the city’s police chief and deputy police chief and a separation agreement with former city manager Deb Hinsvark.
The city attorney position is being advertised at a salary of $95,995 to $132,511, dependent upon qualifications.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10
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