Denton City Council members on Tuesday appointed interim city attorney Catherine Clifton to succeed Aaron Leal, who is moving to a post in Royal Oak, Mich.
âStaff will begin to collect executive search service proposals for a permanent city attorney and present them to council,â said Ryan Adams, city spokesperson.
Clifton is the city’s first deputy district attorney. On an interim basis, she will receive $ 174,410 per year plus a vehicle allowance of $ 750.
Leal, the attorney for the City of Denton since October 2017, has agreed to take an annual pay cut of $ 60,000 for the city attorney position at Royal Oak. His current salary is $ 210,000. According to his employment contract with Royal Oak, his starting salary, effective June 14, will be $ 150,000. He will also receive a monthly car allowance of $ 600, a one-time bonus of $ 10,000 if he lives in Royal Oak within one year, a monthly cell phone allowance of $ 75 and reimbursement of moving expenses.
Leal, 52, has worked at Denton since April 2011, when his starting salary was $ 90,000 as an assistant city attorney. He also worked as the city’s first Deputy District Attorney and Acting District Attorney before being awarded a five-year contract that will expire in October 2022. Leal received one-year extensions in 2018 and 2019, with increases .
the Royal Oak Tribune reported on April 27 that Leal and his wife want to return to Michigan to be “closer to our immediate and extended family.”
In Denton, he oversees nine of the town’s lawyers. In his new role at Royal Oak, Leal will be responsible for overseeing commercial applications of recreational marijuana and establishing a human rights commission, among other duties, according to the Royal Oak Tribune.
A suburb of Detroit, the population of Royal Oak is approximately 60,000 and the city budget is $ 41 million. Denton has approximately 145,000 residents and an annual city budget of $ 1.3 billion.
Royal Oak commissioners unanimously approved Leal’s hiring on April 26.
He is the second member of Denton’s city council to resign since January, when then-city manager Todd Hileman accepted a pay cut for the same position in Palm Desert, Calif. The other persons appointed by the council are the municipal judge and the municipal auditor.
Leal announced his retirement on June 6 to Mayor Gerard Hudspeth in an email dated April 30.
In the same email, Leal said he would spend the last five weeks of his time here “transferring my duties and responsibilities to my successor, the acting city lawyer, chosen by the council.”
PAUL BRYANT can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @paulbryant_DRC.