Assistant Attorney General - Government Counsel & Accountability

Government Counsel & Accountability Division

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Salary

$37.19 – $66.94 Hourly

$77,354 – $139,238 Annually

This position is a Pay Band LH

Posting Details

The Government Counsel and Accountability Division provides general counsel to nearly 100 boards, commissions, and agencies across the state. The Division is involved in promoting and enforcing government accountability and transparency laws, which includes compliance with the Open Meetings Act, Inspection of Public Records Act, Governmental Conduct Act, and other obligations of state and local government. Work in the Division covers broad areas of state law and policy, including legislative bill analyses and drafting official Attorney General opinions at the request of state officials, as well as a wide variety of other civil responsibilities statutorily assigned to the Attorney General. The Division’s attorneys are essential in fulfilling the Attorney General’s statutory duty to provide legal advice and representation to various parts of the state government and to help ensure that the government remains accessible, accountable, and transparent across the state.

This posting will be used for ongoing recruitment and may close at any time.  Applicant lists may be screened more than once.

Why does the job exist?

Provide legal services to the Division’s government clients; develop and improve Division processes in coordination with Division leadership and support staff; collaborate with Division attorneys concerning government client legal needs; perform legal analysis for government clients and in response to requests for Attorney General opinions; support OMA/IPRA compliance program; conduct OMA/IPRA trainings. More experienced attorneys may provide legal services to the Board of Finance and other sophisticated Division clients; mentor junior attorneys; and assist in developing and implementing consistent standards and practices in litigated matters.

How does it get done?

Assistant Attorneys General in the Government Counsel and Accountability Division are involved in a wide variety of matters on a daily basis as part of their primary responsibility representing public bodies, but may also be assigned other duties. Key responsibilities of the position include:

– Representing Public Bodies: serve as a legal counsel to assigned public bodies and advise members during meetings, work closely with staff and officers between meetings, conduct research and provide written and verbal legal advice, training, and support. Categories of client subject areas include but are not limited to: health and professional licensing; financial and property; environment and natural resources; cultural affairs; personnel appeals; public safety; and human rights. Senior attorneys will be expected to carry a higher client load with complex and sensitive matters of significant public interest and provide guidance and training to other attorneys and in the division.

– Administrative Proceedings: assist with the coordination and facilitation of disciplinary and other administrative proceedings conducted by represented public bodies. This role includes providing assistance and legal advice to hearing officers, public officials, and staff on procedural, evidentiary, and due process requirements to ensure hearings are conducted in a fair and impartial manner following legal obligations, including those under the Uniform Licensing Act or other applicable law.

– Administrative Rulemaking: support public bodies with administrative rulemaking, including review and analysis of existing regulations, recommending regulatory changes, provide drafting support, and assist with conducting and defending public rule hearings under the New Mexico State Rules Act. Senior attorneys will be expected to provide guidance and training to other attorneys and staff in the division.

– Administrative Appeals and Litigation: represent assigned public bodies in district and appellate courts in defending administrative decisions appealed under Rules 1-074 and 1-075 NMRA. This role also includes representing assigned public bodies in other occasional litigation, including defending extraordinary writs, injunctions, declaratory actions and other matters.

– Government Accountability: as assigned, review and conduct investigations of government accountability and transparency matters that are received through public complaints or initiated internally involving state and local government agencies, public bodies, and officials. This role includes issuing advisory and guidance letters, conducting trainings across the state, building relationships with other state agencies and public and private stakeholders, making criminal referrals and assisting with prosecution, and assisting with developing resources and best practices. This area includes the agency’s historical focus on the Inspection of Public Records Act and Open Meetings Act, but will also include other government accountability and transparency laws in New Mexico.

– Attorney General Opinions: as assigned, research and draft official attorney general opinions or advisory letters that are published in response to formal requests submitted by state officials and district attorneys on questions of law.

– Legislative Affairs: research and draft fiscal impact reports (FIRs) during legislative sessions on behalf of the office and, if requested, assist with other legislative or policy needs including reports, recommendations, and presentations.

– Other Duties As Assigned: as assigned, assist with other duties including but not limited to: review and approval of school bonds and contract jail agreements, contract review, and a wide variety of other civil matters that are directed to the division.

Who are the customers?

The Attorney General is the state’s attorney, and the work of an Assistant Attorney General is broadly done for the state of New Mexico. When representing state public bodies, the job is done for the client, which is the public body being represented and, indirectly, staff who serve the body.

Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate will have a passion for public service and a history of providing quality advice in the area of public law with some or all of the following experience or skills:

– Administrative law, including rulemaking and administrative appeals.

– Public policy work that includes reading, interpreting, and applying statutes and regulations on a regular basis.

– Experience working with or for a public body or other organization that follows parliamentary procedures to discuss business, formulate policy, adopt rules, and vote to issue decisions, including experience following the New Mexico Open Meetings Act, Inspection of Public Records Act, Governmental Conduct Act, and related laws.

– Excellent written and verbal communication skills, proficient in learning new technology, and the ability to independently multi-task in a high volume environment with the possibility of frequent interruptions. Demonstrated experience effectively communicating with difficult people, mentoring other staff, and conducting trainings is highly preferred for senior attorneys.

– Familiarity with areas of law that affect the Division’s clients is highly preferred.  Categories of client subject areas include but are not limited to: health and professional licensing; financial and property; environment and natural resources; cultural affairs; personnel appeals; public safety; and human rights.

Minimum Qualification

Juris Doctorate degree from an accredited school of law. Must be licensed as an attorney by the Supreme Court of New Mexico or qualified to apply for limited practice license (Rules 15-301.1 and 15-301.2 NMRA). For more information on limited practice licenses, please visit http://nmexam.org/limited-license/

Substitution Table

N/A

Employment Requirements

All Attorney classifications must be and remain licensed as an attorney, in good standing, by the Supreme Court of New Mexico, or licensed as an attorney and in good standing by the highest court of another state and eligible pursuant to the limited license provisions (See Rules 15-301.1 and 15-301.2 NMRA).

Must possess and maintain a current Defensive Driving Course Certificate from the State of New Mexico or must pass and receive Defensive Driving Course Certification as a condition of continued employment as some statewide travel maybe required. Employment is subject to criminal background check and is conditional pending results of criminal background check. Be of good moral character and not have been convicted of a felony offense by a court of this state, any other state or the United States.

Working Conditions

Office setting, exposure to Visual/Video Display terminal (VDT) and extensive personal computer and telephone usage with extended periods of sitting, including during public meetings and hearings. Must be able to lift 25 lbs, and some sitting, standing, bending and reaching may be required. Some occasional travel, including overnight travel, may be required in and out of state.

Supplemental Information

Benefits:

Agency Contact Information: Tim Maestas

For information on Statutory Requirements for this position, click the Classification Description link on the job advertisement.

 

Bargaining Unit Position

This position is not covered by a collective bargaining agreement.