[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Aldermen (now City Council) of the City of Chicopee 6-19-2007. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Police Department — See Ch. 77.
Editor's Note: This order also repealed former Ch. 46, Law Department, adopted as Ch. 14 of the 1976 Code, as amended.
The Law Department shall be under the supervision and control of the City Solicitor, who shall be an attorney, admitted to practice before the courts of the commonwealth and admitted to practice law before the federal court.
There shall be attached to the office four Associate City Solicitors and one Assistant City Solicitor, who shall be attorneys admitted to practice before the courts of the commonwealth and admitted to practice before the federal court and who shall, under the direction of the City Solicitor, assist the City Solicitor in the performance of official duties.
There shall be assigned to the office additional support staff as may be, from time to time, funded through the appropriation or budget process in any given fiscal year.
The City Solicitor and three of the four Associate City Solicitors shall be appointed by the Mayor on the first Monday of January of each year. The fourth Associate City Solicitor shall be nominated by the Mayor on the first Monday of January of each year and confirmed by a majority vote of the City Council, at which time the appointment shall become effective. The Assistant City Solicitor shall be appointed for a two-year term and shall be a full-time municipal employee governed by an employment contract. The City Solicitor and Associate City Solicitors may be removed from office by the Mayor for cause, after public hearing held by the Mayor, upon a seven-day notice, in writing, setting forth the cause and the time and place of hearing. Any vacancy occurring in the Law Department, with the exception of the fourth Associate City Solicitor who is counsel to the City Council, shall be filled by appointment by the Mayor for the unexpired term. Any vacancy occurring in the position of the legal counsel to the City Council shall be filled by the Mayor nominating an attorney for the position, subject to confirmation by the majority of the City Council, at which time the appointment becomes effective.
The City Solicitor shall assign to the fourth Associate City Solicitor, which appointment is contingent upon being nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by the majority of the City Council, the responsibility to assist the City Council, and perform additional duties as may be assigned by the City Solicitor.
The City Solicitor shall assign the Assistant and Associate City Solicitors in a manner consistent with the volume of legal business and in a manner most efficient to the operation of this Department; however, one Associate City Solicitor shall be named the Chief of Litigation.
The City Solicitor shall perform all the duties required by the General Laws of Massachusetts, the City Charter and the ordinances of the City. The City Solicitor shall be legal advisor to the Mayor, City Council, boards, commissions and department heads. The City Solicitor shall defend the City in all legal actions and prosecute actions on behalf of the City. The Law Department shall prepare and approve legal documents, give opinions on legal points and represent the City as required before the courts, state departments and legislative committees. The City Solicitor shall, by statute, represent the City Assessors in proceedings before the Appellate Tax Board. In all cases in which the attendance upon business of the City shall be required out of the City, the members of the Law Department shall be entitled to receive their reasonable expenses therefore in addition to their salary.
The City Solicitor shall, when requested, furnish the Mayor and other officers and boards of the City, who may need the same in the discharge of official duty, a legal opinion upon any subject touching the duties of their respective offices, but the City Solicitor shall not be required to give a written opinion unless the question upon which the opinion is desired be submitted in writing.
The Chief of Police shall, subject to the approval of the City Solicitor, designate a police officer who shall, as a part of official duties, investigate all claims against the City, under the directions of the City Solicitor.
Every officer in charge of a department shall make a report, in writing, to the Law Department whenever any transaction, act or negligence in any way involving the Department in his charge occurs which results in or may occasion the bringing of a claim by or against the City.
The City Solicitor may, with the consent of the Mayor and the City Council, employ special counsel in important cases wherein he or she feels such special counsel would be advantageous to the City's interests. He or she may likewise employ expert assistance and stenographic services when such are necessary to the successful prosecution of City legal affairs.
All taxable costs which may be received by the Law Department from the adverse party in any suit wherein the City or any of its boards or departments is a party shall be paid by the City Solicitor to the City Treasurer within 30 days after payment to him or her.
The City Solicitor shall keep a properly indexed record of all proceedings, actions or suits in which the City is a party or which affect, directly or indirectly, any interest of the City or any of its departments, and he or she shall keep a properly indexed record of all opinions rendered by the Law Department during that City Solicitor's term of office and shall surrender to any successor in office all such reports.
The City Solicitor shall transmit to the Mayor and City Council, annually in the month of January, a report of the business done by the Law Department during the preceding year.
The Law Department shall determine the validity of the signature of a property owner on all written protests filed against a zone change petition as required in MGL c. 40A, § 70.
All out-of-court settlements shall be made subject to the approval of the appropriating body. Nothing in this chapter shall interfere with the authority of a duly authorized and funded Claims and Accounts Committee of the City Council.