Albemarle County has signed an agreement with a Richmond law firm for a temporary county attorney.
Former County Attorney Greg Kamptner retired April 1, and the Board of Supervisors decided to hire a search firm to find his replacement. In March, after multiple closed meetings about the position, the board agreed to sign a contract with Sands Anderson, a Richmond-based law firm, for interim county attorney services for at least 90 days.
Supervisors say the search for a more permanent county attorney is still on.
“This is a short-term agreement to make sure that we have expert advice available at all times during the interim, until we complete our successful search process,” Supervisor Ann H. Mallek said. “There are, I think, a fairly limited number of highly skilled, local government-experienced attorneys and we’re just making sure we can find one for us.”
Cynthia Hudson will be the primary attorney from Sands Anderson who will work with Albemarle. Hudson served as the Chief Deputy Attorney General for Virginia prior to joining Sands Anderson in 2020, according to the firm’s website.
She previously was the city attorney for Hampton, Virginia, for eight years, and worked as the deputy city attorney for seven years prior.
According to the agreement, it is estimated that Hudson will work 75 hours per month for a total cost of $87,000.
Board Chair Donna Price and supervisors Jim Andrews and Bea LaPisto-Kirtley declined to comment on the agreement and county attorney search because they said it was a personnel matter.
There could be more searches in the county’s future. At a budget work session last week, the county Director of Human Resources Mia Coltrane said so far this fiscal year there have been 22 retirements and an additional 10 staff members have already announced they will retire soon.
Another 49 employees are eligible for either full or reduced retirement.
Albemarle is not the only Virginia locality having a hard time finding high-level staff.
Charlottesville, has had a revolving door of city managers over the last four years, and is under a contract with Robert Bobb Group, a firm out of Washington, D.C., to perform the duties of interim city manager.
Michael Rogers from the firm was appointed by City Council in January to serve in that role.
Haskell Brown has been working as Richmond’s interim city attorney since November 2019, after Allen Jackson, who held the role for nine years, retired. Brown had previously been a deputy city attorney for Richmond.
Portsmouth is now on its second interim city attorney, both coming from the Portsmouth city attorney’s office, after the city council fired the previous city attorney in September 2020.
Goochland, Gloucester, Nelson and Stafford counties, among others, are looking to fill county administrator positions, while Petersburg and Harrisonburg join Charlottesville in trying to find new city managers.