Chapel Hill Town Attorney Ralph Karpinos announced his plans to retire in February after 35 years in his role. The Town Council has contracted with Developmental Associates to lead the search process for a new Town Attorney.
Check this page for the latest information about the schedule and process.
View the position responsibilities and qualifications here.
In an effort to get the best information about candidates, the Town will be using an assessment center process. An assessment center provides the opportunity for a team of assessors to view the candidates in simulated scenarios a town attorney will face. In addition, there is typically a writing exercise and interview.
As part of its review of candidates, the Town Council appointed three community members (with two alternates) to serve as assessors during the June 18-19 assessment center.
Completed a Statement of Confidentiality;
Attended both days of the assessment center from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., (tentatively June 18-19, 2020 and subject to change);
Worked on a team with assessors who are local government leaders from other communities to facilitate one of three exercises; and
Observed and rated candidate performance.
Recruitment and Selection Schedule
April 6, 2020: Town Attorney job posted
April 29, 2020: The Council approved a process to select a Town Attorney using the firm Developmental Associates. View agenda materials.
Week of May 4, 2020: review of Town Attorney applications begins.
Week of May 4, 2020: Town staff began soliciting applications from community members to participate in the Town Attorney assessment center through eNews, social media, and targeted recruitment efforts.
May 18, 2020: application deadline for community members interested in participating as assessors.
May 21, 2020: A Council Committee met to review community member assessor applications.
June 3, 2020: Council appointed three community members (with two alternates) to participate in the assessment center.
June 18-19, 2020: Town Attorney assessment center.
June 25, 2020: Council interviewed finalists.
July 2020 (tentative): Council appoints new Town Attorney.
What is a Town Attorney?
The Town's Legal Department advises and represents the Town of Chapel Hill in all settings where legal advice and representation are needed or requested. The department provides advice to Town Council, the Town Manager, Town departments, boards, and commissions. The Town Attorney's work involves preparing and reviewing legal documents for the Town, representing the Town at state and federal trial, and the appellate court as well as administrative proceedings, attendance at all meetings of the Council, and occasional attendance at advisory board meetings held during and outside of business hours.
The Town Attorney must exercise independent judgment, discretion, and initiative in completing assignments. The Town also values the ability to understand and communicate clearly in plain language legal concepts, arguments, court decisions, and rulings. The Town Attorney must communicate with tact and courtesy to staff, Council, taxpayers, attorneys, advisory board members, and the general public.
The Town Attorney works under the general supervision of the Town Council and interfaces regularly with the office of the Town Manager. The Council appoints the Town Manager, Town Attorney, and members of boards, committees, and commissions, approves the annual budget, authorizes contracts on the town's behalf, enacts ordinances and resolutions and establishes general town policies. The Chapel Hill Town Council has nine seats with one current Council vacancy – eight council members, and the Mayor. Terms are staggered, with nonpartisan elections every four years for Council members and every two years for Mayor.