The North Olmsted Department of Law is headed by the Director of Law. The Director of Law is an elected City official who serves four year terms of office. The Director of Law is Michael R. Gareau, Jr. His current term of office is from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2025.
Duties of Director of Law
The primary duties of the Director of Law, set forth in Article V, Section 2 of the City Charter, are as follows:
The Director of Law shall act as legal counsel and serve in such capacity the Mayor, Council, administrative officers, departments, and the commissions and boards of the City. As legal counsel and attorney, he shall represent the City in all proceedings in court or before any administrative body and in such other matters and controversies as he is, by resolution or ordinance, directed to prosecute. The Director of Law may with the approval of a majority of the members of Council retain the services of outside counsel to assist him/her in carrying out any of the duties specified in this Section. He or an Assistant Director of Law shall act as Prosecuting Attorney for the City. The Director of Law shall perform all other duties now or hereinafter imposed by Council or the Mayor consistent with the duties of the office of Director of Law.
Specific duties include:
- Working with the Mayor, City Council and the Administration to ensure enforcement of the Codified Ordinances and Charter of the City of North Olmsted;
- Preparing all ordinances and resolutions;
- Attending Council, Planning & Design Commission, Board of Zoning & Building Appeals, Civil Service Commission and other meetings;
- Providing legal opinions and advice to Council, Mayor and Administration;
- Serving as legal adviser to the Division of Police on all matters pertaining to law enforcement;
- Prosecuting all criminal and traffic matters on behalf of the City in the Mayor’s Court and Rocky River Municipal Court;
- Providing legal representation on behalf of the City on litigation matters before the Municipal, Common Pleas, Appellate Courts and Federal Courts;
- Preparing and reviewing all contracts;
- Working with the Human Resources Department concerning personnel issues;
- Assisting the City’s Building Division and Planning and Development Department on land use issues including code violations and abandoned property concerns;
- Advising the Division of Recreation on legal matters pertaining to contracts;
- Offering guidance to the Senior Center Administrator on various matters, including practices and policies;
- Advising the Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent on contracts and projects;
- Representing the City in labor disputes;
- Assisting the City in negotiating union contracts, when requested by the Mayor (note, Under R.C. Section 4117.10(C), “The chief executive officer, or the chief executive officer’s representative, of each municipal corporation…is responsible for negotiations in the collective bargaining process.” It is the Mayor’s decision to appoint a negotiator and that individual need not be an attorney at law. However, he does need approval of the Council to hire such an individual. It is not an individual selected by the Director of Law.);
- The Prosecutor is responsible for the prosecution of misdemeanor crimes and traffic violations that occur within North Olmsted. The Prosecutor also determines whether criminal charges should be filed. He is responsible for all facets of the case, from discovery to jury trials to appeals in the Court of Appeals;
- Preparing and reviewing responses to Public Records requests;
- Providing legal opinions to the Board of Elections on constriction and interpretation of the City Charter;
- Serving on the Board of Control;
- Serving on the Records Commission; and
- Serving on the Board of Review.
Department of Law Attorneys are not permitted to give personal legal advice. Those needing legal advice or assistance should contact private attorneys or the Legal Aid Society.