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City selects new City Attorney

Mayor Abram Wilson announced today that Sheryl Schaffner, City Attorney for Eureka, will take on the same role for San Ramon starting July 19. She was selected from a pool of 29 applicants.

The selection committee -- comprised of Mayor Abram Wilson, Councilman Scott Perkins, City Manager Herb Moniz and Danville City Attorney Robert Ewing -- interviewed candidates and narrowed the field down to six, which included two law firms and four individuals, three of whom are currently practicing city attorneys.

The Council met in closed session June 1 to evaluate two final candidates before they authorized the City Manager to negotiate an offer with Schaffner.

Schaffner was Senior Staff Counsel at the State Water Resources Control Board prior to becoming the City Attorney for the City of Eureka.

As Sheryl Freeman, Ms. Schaffner served on the Davis City Council from June 20, 1998 to April 20, 2002.

Schaffner told the Express that she is excited about coming back to the Bay Area.

"I went to undergraduate school at U.C. Berkeley, law school at U.C. Davis, and have family in Berkeley and the North Bay," she said. "I love the Tri-Valley area especially for the climate and the relaxed and friendly atmosphere."

When asked about the challenges she expects in her new job, she replied, "From what I have seen so far, it looks like the big issues of the day include the General Plan 2030 update and related policy and planning issues. As a newcomer though, I have a lot to learn about the community, and no preconceived notions except an understanding of my role."

She sees her role as helping, "the Council do its job of making policy decisions by giving them an informed set of options wherever legal questions arise, advice where desired, and to defend those choices, once made."

She described her first task "to become more familiar with the goals and issues of concern for the Council, as well as the City Manager, Department Heads and their staff."

Wilson described Schaffner as very professional.

"She's an attorney who cares," he said. "She has the same no-nonesense characteristics as By (Athan)."

Schaffner will replace Interim City Attorney Roger Peters, who filled the City Attorney's seat after Byron Athan was named City Attorney Emeritus in September. Athan died Nov. 25 just after his 91st birthday.

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