Article XVIII of the Ohio Constitution authorizes the creation of municipal corporations in Ohio. Under Section Three, Columbus has “…authority to exercise all powers of local self-government … [that are] … not in conflict with general laws.” In 1914, Columbus adopted, and has since amended, a government Charter, and now exercises all powers of local self-government described in Section Three. The Charter of the City of Columbus grants legislative power of city government to a seven-member city council, with each member elected by the public. A council member’s term is four years. Electors then choose a City Attorney for a four-term.
The City Attorney is an attorney holding a public office whose function is to advise and represent the city in legal matters. The City Attorney performs executive management duties including:
Overseeing the activities and functions of the City Attorney’s Office and supervising staff;
Performing highly advanced administrative and legal management work by providing legal advice, opinions, and services to the City Council, City Boards, and Commissions and full-time city staff; and
Planning, directing, managing, and overseeing the activities and operations of the City Attorney’s Office including civil counsel, criminal prosecution, and administrative proceedings.
In short, the Office of Columbus City Attorney serves as legal adviser, prosecutor, and litigator for the City of Columbus. In addition, the City Attorney’s office also handles real estate transactions and claims for the city. The office has roughly 125 full-time employees, just under half of which are attorneys.