TRANSITIONS ... Gary Baum's colorful six-year tenure as Palo Alto's city attorney will come to an end this month, when Baum leaves his office on the seventh floor of City Hall to pursue a career in private practice. Since taking over the city's top attorney job in July 2004 he's helped shepherd the City Council through a litany of thorny subjects, from high-speed rail and Stanford Hospital's massive expansion to municipal elections and the city's green-building code. Though Baum occasionally weathered public criticism from council members, he will be showered with honors Monday night, when the council passes a special resolution commending him for his service. The resolution thanks Baum for his "integrity, honesty and professionalism," his "commitment to mentoring and supporting others," and his "compassion and dedication to service," which include his pro bono work on behalf of victims of domestic violence. For this work, Baum received a Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award in 2007 and an Access to Justice Award in 2009. The council is also scheduled to meet Tuesday behind closed doors to consider its recruitment process for the next city attorney. Assistant City Attorney Donald Larkin will serve as the interim city attorney until Baum's permanent replacement is selected. Baum isn't the only council-appointed officer to depart from City Hall this month, though he is the only one who can't blame a baby for his absence. City Auditor Lynda Brouchoud took off for maternity leave earlier this month, prompting the council to appoint Michael Edmonds as her temporary replacement. City Manager James Keene, meanwhile, missed the council and the Finance Committee meetings this week because he's awaiting the birth of his first grandchild.
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posted Friday, October 22, 2010, 12:00 AM