Littleton city attorney resigns

Kirsten Crawford

Kirsten Crawford

Decision came days after Crawford was put on leave

By Peter Jones

Less than two weeks after being placed on paid administrative leave, Littleton City Attorney Kirsten Crawford has left the position for good.

On Feb. 8, the city announced that Crawford had resigned her position effective Feb. 1 – three days after the council had unanimously approved her request to be placed on an ostensibly temporary leave.

It is the second time Littleton has lost a city attorney in less than a year and a half. Crawford was appointed in March of last year, six months after the City Council fired her predecessor Suzanne Staiert without explanation.

Crawford could not be reached for comment, but according to the city’s press announcement, the former city attorney’s resignation letter said she was “honored to serve the residents of Littleton and work for the city.”

Because Crawford’s resignation is a personnel matter, city officials would not comment on the circumstances.

“I respect Kirsten’s decision and appreciate her service,” Mayor Debbie Brinkman said. “The City Council and I wish her success in her future endeavors.”

No acting city attorney has been named, though Kristen Schledorn remains Littleton’s assistant city attorney.

Crawford, who had worked for the city for five and a half years, was appointed city attorney six months after Littleton’s acrimonious parting with Staiert, who is now a deputy secretary of state.

Crawford’s departure comes as the city manager’s office is conducting an evaluation in hopes of identifying potential efficiencies throughout the city’s departments.

Brinkman says Littleton is likely to consider the potential benefits of contracting with a law firm rather than hiring another in-house staff attorney to handle the myriad of legal issues faced by the city government.

“You can’t have an attorney that has a specialization in all of these things,” the mayor said. “You’ve got to contract out a lot of work anyway. The questions are, would we save money? Would there be efficiencies? Should we do a hybrid? It’s definitely a department that deserves a look.”

Many neighboring cities, including Centennial and Cherry Hills Village, contract with law firms, as an alternative to employing a full-time staff attorney.

Because City Manager Michael Penny’s evaluation is expected as soon as next week, Brinkman expects a fast-track decision in the next two months to either put another city attorney on staff or to contract with a law firm.

 

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