Palo Alto concluded its search for a new city attorney Thursday, naming San Francisco Airport General Counsel Molly S. Stump as its choice to succeed retired attorney Gary Baum.
Stump will take over the City Attorney's Office at a time when Palo Alto is preparing to take over operations of its own airport from Santa Clara County. Before working at SFO she spent 15 years in the San Francisco City Attorney's Office, where she supervised the public protection team and served as chief counsel to the Police Commission and the police chief.
Stump has also served on San Francisco's labor employment team, where she defended the city in labor lawsuits and negotiated labor agreements, according to the city's statement. She was also a "special transition counsel" to former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
Stump's appointment will begin on April 18. She will receive a base salary of $208,375, the city announced.
Mayor Sid Espinosa said in a statement that he is excited to welcome Stump to Palo Alto.
"Molly Stump has spent her entire legal career in service to the public sector," Espinosa said. "We welcome her to Palo Alto. We are excited that she is joining the team and we look forward to working with her."
City attorney is one of four city positions -- along with city manager, city clerk and city auditor -- that are appointed directly by the City Council. The council selected Stump after a search that began just after Baum's retirement on Oct. 31, 2010.
Assistant City Attorney Donald Larkin has been serving as interim city attorney since Baum's retirement.
Councilwoman Karen Holman, who chaired the Council Appointed Officers Committee, said in a statement that she and the committee are "very pleased that Molly Stump has accepted our offer and welcome the experience, expertise and capability that she brings to Palo Alto."
"We look forward to a long relationship and the beneficial impact that she will have on our community," Holman said.
The committee selected Stump earlier this month from a field of five finalists, Holman told the Weekly. She said the committee was particularly impressed with Stump's "intelligence, her approach to problem solving, her analytical, personnel and people skills and her approach to management issues."
In addition to her base salary, Stump will receive a monthly $325 "auto allowance" and 180 annual vacation hours. If the council asks her to resign or terminates her contract, she would receive six months of severance pay. The severance-pay benefit would increase by one month for every year of completed service, to a maximum of nine months, according to the proposed contract.
The City Council is expected to approve Stump's contract at its March 21 meeting.