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Eye on Sedona City Attorney and Office

Article submitted by City of Sedona AZ and authored by Mark DiNunzio

Article submitted by City of Sedona AZ and authored by City Attorney Robert Pickels

Sedona AZ (October 14, 2015) – Your City Attorney’s Office – Protecting Sedona’s Interests.

Since arriving in Sedona in July to begin my service as the new City Attorney, I found that there were quite a few things that I needed to learn, not the least of which was who the City Attorney staff was and how each individual contributes to the process of protecting the City of Sedona in a variety of ways. I thought this article would provide a great opportunity for me to share what I have learned about my own responsibilities and the roles that my new colleagues play in serving the community.

The mission of the City Attorney’s Office is “to provide quality legal advice and services to the City Council, City departments and commissions,” and “to vigorously prosecute criminal cases in a fair manner that leads to just results.” So, what do those things really mean and how are they accomplished?

A sometimes common misconception about city attorneys is that they have the ability to provide legal services (advice) to the community at large. One of the things that attorneys are taught in law school is to always know who your client is. For City Attorneys, our client is city government. We represent the organization, which also includes the many component parts of the organization like the City Council, City departments and commissions. Ultimately, however, we make decisions based on what we think are in the best interest of the organization as a whole. My job as Sedona’s City Attorney is to coordinate the advice and services our legal department provides. I think that we have a very high quality team in place to accomplish our mission.

City of Sedona City Attorney Robert Pickels Jr.

City of Sedona City Attorney Robert Pickels Jr.

Ron Ramsey has been an Assistant City Attorney in Sedona for just over eleven years. He has what we commonly refer to as “institutional knowledge” that is invaluable, especially to a newcomer like me who is navigating through unfamiliar waters. Ron has been serving the greater Verde Valley for many years both in private and public practice. He also serves as a judge for the municipal Court in Clarkdale.

Another integral function of the City Attorney’s Office is to prosecute misdemeanor violations that occur within our City limits. We are very fortunate to have a very talented prosecutor, Lisa Wieler-Parsons, who handles the entire load of criminal cases for us. Lisa was a prosecutor in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office prior to joining the Sedona legal team just over a year ago. I am continually amazed at the depth of knowledge that Lisa has about the criminal justice system and the police department’s role in it. Prosecutors are often referred to as “ministers of justice” because of their ethical responsibility to ensure that the criminal legal process works effectively and fairly.

No city attorney’s office can function well without support staff that keeps the lawyers organized and prepared. When I arrived here in Sedona, the office had a long-tenured Legal Assistant, Jennifer Braden, who had put systems in place during her fifteen years of service to the City that made my transition much easier. Since Jennifer’s retirement, we have welcomed Katie Johnson into the office as our new Legal Assistant. Katie has experience in both private and public legal offices and has already begun to make her mark on our office with high energy and an amazingly positive attitude.

I think we’re on the right track in furthering our mission to serve city government well and protect its interests. We have a great team in place and the support we need to be successful. For that, I owe a debt of gratitude to my predecessor, Mike Goimarac, who helped build the City Attorney’s Office from the ground up and left a legacy of public service which is our honor to continue.

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  1. Ellen Glass says:

    Mr. Pickels,
    How does one go about asking for information under the Freedom of Information Act with the city? Thank you. Ellen Glass

  2. On November 10th 2014 my civil rights were violated by the Sedona Police. I was walking down Mule Deer Road in West Sedona when a man wearing a Sedona Sheriff’s Club hate came up from behind me, pulled my earphones out and assaulted both my dog and I for over 20 minutes. After the assault I went directly to the Sedona Police Department, at 2 in the afternoon; no Police were there…so the secretary told me to go home and wait. I went home and a little bit later a swat team of prejudice and corrupt Sedona cops came to my home, they kidnapped me without reading me my rights, kept me 100% buck naked in a tiny concrete cell without any food or water for 24 hours. The invented false charges to which all off the evidence clearly shows they lied. The City Attorney ignored all the evidence, even a video of the guy standing on the edge of my property threatening to murder me. I am 43 years old and never had a criminal record until they decided to allow (deleted by editor) to assault me with impunity. They destroyed my 20 year career as I can’t get employment now as a result of the false charges, so the city attorney can protect the corrupt and predjudice police and have so far managed to extort nearly 6 grand in costs.

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