Former San Luis Obispo City Attorney Jonathan Lowell was sworn in Monday night as Pleasanton's new city attorney at a special meeting of the City Council.
In a brief ceremony, Lowell raised his right hand to repeat the oath of office administered by City Clerk Karen Diaz, officially filling the office long held by now-former City Attorney Michael Roush, who is retiring.
Roush will continue handling legal affairs for the city until Monday, Jan. 4, when Lowell takes over.
Addessing the council, Lowell said that in researching the city of Pleasanton and the position of city attorney, "I realized what a fantastic professional city that you have and I am thrilled to be able to work with all of you."
He especially praised outgoing City Attorney Roush, a city attorney he has long admired and respected.
"I am honored to be able to step in and continue his good work on behalf of the city of Pleasanton," Lowell said.
Lowell, who is also the incoming vice president of the League of California Cities City Attorney Department—and will become its president in 2011--has been city attorney in San Luis Obispo, a city with a population of 43,000, since 2003.
At one time he was also the assistant city attorney in both Livermore and Hayward and the city attorney for San Bruno. He was in private practice with the San Francisco law firm of Curiale, Dellaverson, Hirschfield, Kraemer & Sloan.
He received his law degree from UC Hastings College of Law and holds a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley.
His employment contract, which the council unanimously approved last night, gives Lowell an annual starting salary of $195,000, a yearly performance bonus not to exceed 5 percent of his annual salary, and the same medical, retirement medical insurance, dental insurance and other benefits also provided to other management employees working for the city of Pleasanton.
He will also be eligible for accrued vacation at the rate of 25 days annually and a credit of 10 days of administrative leave annually. He will receive a $400 monthly car allowance with a cell phone that includes payment of all charges related to city business.
In his role as Pleasanton's City Attorney, Lowell will provide advice and counsel to the City Council, City Manager Nelson Fialho and city staff. He will manage a legal department that handles the city's contractual, regulatory, and litigation matters that typically include open meeting and public records laws; conflicts of interest; land use and environmental laws; claims and litigation; municipal elections; employment and labor relations; code enforcement, and other legal matters.
Both the city manager's and city attorney's positions report directly to the City Council.
Joining Lowell for last night's ceremony and a reception that followed were his parents Marie and Harry Lowell of Walnut Creek, his partner Peter DeMarais, and his mother-in-law Mary DeMarais.