Saturday, September 19, 2009

What it says/what it should say

The City of Scottsdale has posted its City Attorney opening on its jobs website.

As a courtesy to prospective job seekers (of the lawyer genus), I'm going to translate the job notice from "HR staff-written official-ese" into plain English.

Here goes...

What it says -

Compensation is highly competitive and dependent upon qualifications. Candidate must be a graduate of a school of law accredited by the American Bar Association, a current member of the Arizona State Bar and have eight years of progressively responsible legal and management experience in a complex organization. Candidate must reside within the City of Scottsdale at time of hire.
What it should say -

Candidates for the City Attorney's position should, you know, be *attorneys.* Experience is good. The successful candidate should be prepared to spend a significant part of his/her salary on maintaining a Scottsdale residence, if only for appearance's sake.

What it says -

The City Attorney manages legal issues and the delivery of legal services, oversees the Civil, Prosecution and Victim Services Divisions, and serves as the chief legal advisor to the Mayor, City Council and City Manager. The City Attorney is appointed by a majority vote of the City Council, and serves at the pleasure of the City Council.
What it should say -

Duhhhh! The City Attorney is responsible for doing lawyer stuff. The City Attorney's job security is subject to the whim of the City Council and Mayor, so be prepared to pucker. And if you want good performance reviews, practice feigning enthusiasm while you pucker.

What it says -
The mission of the City Attorney’s Office is to provide legal and advocacy services that assist the organization to enhance the quality of life within Scottsdale and build trust in the integrity of City government. The City Attorney leads a team of 57 full-time employees and has a current year operating budget of $6,384,959. For more information, please visit the following website:
What it should say -

This office is an exercise in "solid biological waste matter rolls downhill." The Mayor and City Council will roll it onto you, and the successful candidate will have 57 direct reports to roll it on to in turn.

What it says -
Goals for the new City Attorney will be to represent the City of Scottsdale in civil, administrative and other court proceedings in defense and support of the mission and broad goals of the City Council. Provide legal advice to City officials and employees in support of their efforts to achieve the mission and broad goals of the City Council. Continue to expand and improve customer services, legal representation and exchange of information through increased use of technology.

Please see the attached brochure for additional information.
What is should say -

The successful candidate will tell the Mayor and City Council what they want to hear, until the Council changes its mind, probably via a 4-3 vote.

The successful candidate should expect to be looking for a new job shortly after the next election and installation of new Council members in January, 2011.

In the event that this posting hasn't been enough to pique your interest, please peruse our nifty four-color brochure. Maybe it will stun you into submission with its Chamber of Commerce imagery and prose.

Or maybe not.

The bottom line is that this Council ran off the previous City Attorney much as her predecessor was run off. In addition, they're butting heads with the current City Manager after running off his predecessor.

Somebody *will* take the position, but they should do so with their eyes open. They'll be going to work for a bunch of people whose report cards in school all read "does not play well with others."