Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer swearing in newly-appointed City Attorney Robin Currin. Photo by Alicia Funderburk.
Today Asheville City Council appointed Robin Currin as the new city attorney, formally swearing her in at a special meeting this afternoon.
Currin, a Raleigh-based attorney with experience in local government, land and zoning law, will take office on May 1. Last July, City Attorney Bob Oast retired after 16 years in the position, leading to a search for his successor. Martha McGlohon has served as interim city attorney since his departure.
Mayor Esther Manheimer swore Currin in, noting that “we’re very excited about this.” In a statement released by the city after Currin was appointed, Manheimer added “we are fortunate to have Robin at the wheel in this important position. Her areas of knowledge and expertise will serve the city well as we rise to new challenges and opportunities.”
The statement also noted Currin “has been recognized by for her knowledge of land use and zoning by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America and other professional organizations.”
Asked by Xpress about what she sees as the top challenges facing the position, and her approach to it, Currin replied that she will withhold comment until after she closes her Raleigh practice and takes office in May. In the statement, she declared “I look forward to taking on this responsibility and serving this community with integrity as its new City Attorney.”
Currin takes office at a time when the legal front has no shortage of controversies for the city. Asheville is currently in the midst of a major legal battle with the state over the fate of the city’s water system, and relations with the legislature in Raleigh often range from strained to hostile. The city attorney has historically spearheaded the development of Asheville’s legislative agenda, turning Council’s broader goals into more specific items for city government to press for.
The city is also considering a major zoning overhaul on Haywood Road, ways to change its development to encourage more affordable housing and other major land use and development questions where the city attorney will play a key role.
City Attorney is one of only three positions directly employed by Council (along with City Clerk and City Manager), and plays a major role in shaping the course of city government by advising Council on its options and possible courses of action.