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Selection of City Attorney / Employment
Creation of the Position
When originally created in the State Statutes, the position of the City Attorney was an elected position, and still is elected in many Wisconsin cities, including our neighbors Milwaukee and West Allis.

Amendment of the Selection Process

In 1967, the Wauwatosa Common Council eliminated the election for the position, and instead created a specialized and unique process for appointment of the City Attorney, which is embodied in Section 20.071 of the Charter Ordinances of the City of Wauwatosa.

How the City Selects Its City Attorney
The Wauwatosa City Attorney is not permitted to engage in the private practice of the law, and must be a resident of the City of Wauwatosa. If the individual is not a resident when appointed, the City Attorney must move to a residence in the city within one year after an initial probationary period.

The ordinance requires the following steps:
  • A panel of three attorneys, all residents of Wauwatosa with at least 10 years experience in the practice of law, is selected in consultation with the Milwaukee Bar Association to review all applicants for the position
  • The panel recommends two or three individuals who, in its opinion, are eligible and qualified to hold the position for the position
  • The Mayor appoints one person from the final list, who must be approved by a three-fourths vote of the members-elect of the Common Council
  • The City Attorney is appointed for a four-year term
  • At the end of the four-year term, the Mayor may reappoint the City Attorney without the necessity of the panel interview process, although three-fourths of the Common Council must approve the reappointment

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