Update Monday at 3:30 p.m. to include a venue change for the public reception to meet the candidates.
The Denton City Council announced its five finalists for city attorney Friday and is inviting the public to meet the candidates Monday, Sept. 25, at the Patterson Appleton Art Center, 400 E. Hickory St.
The city attorney answers to the City Council and represents the city government (and its representatives) in civil and administrative matters. The city attorney’s office also represents the state in municipal court, such as the prosecution of traffic tickets and other Class C misdemeanors.
The finalists are Stephen Button of Canton, New York; Courtney Goodman-Morris of Denison; Julian Grant of Georgetown; Victoria Huynh of Irving; and Aaron Leal of Denton. Leal currently serves as the interim city attorney.
The nationwide search began in June, several months after Anita Burgess retired as city attorney. An executive search firm fielded 29 applications for the post and narrowed the list to 11 semifinalists. Council members reviewed the pool on Tuesday and named the finalists based on their submitted materials. The City Council will interview the candidates Sept. 25-26.
The city released brief biographies of the candidates.
Currently the county attorney for St. Lawrence County, New York, Stephen Button has also served as the public defender in St. Lawrence County and as an adjunct professor at the State University of New York in Potsdam and Canton. A licensed attorney since 2007, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Baylor University and a juris doctorate degree from the Western New England College of Law in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Currently an attorney in private practice and co-owner of an insurance company, Courtney Goodman-Morris previously served as city attorney for Denison and as an assistant city attorney for Amarillo. She worked for the U. S. Department of Agriculture before becoming a lawyer. A licensed attorney since 2003, she earned her bachelor’s degree at Texas A&M University and a juris doctorate degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law.
Currently an attorney in private practice, Julian Grant previously served as city attorney for the city of Kyle, and as assistant city attorney in Corpus Christi and Temple. He also served in the local government affairs and public finance sections of the Texas Attorney General’s Office. A licensed attorney since 1992, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Texas School of Law.
Currently a deputy city attorney in the city of Plano, Huynh has worked in the Plano city attorney's office since 1997. A licensed attorney since 1997, she earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Dallas and a juris doctorate degree from the Texas A&M School of Law (previously known as Texas Wesleyan School of Law).
Currently Denton's interim city attorney, Leal has been working in the Denton city attorney's office since 2011. Leal previously served as an assistant city attorney in McAllen. A licensed attorney since 1998, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a juris doctorate degree from the Indiana University School of Law.
If You Go
What: Meet the candidates for city attorney and provide feedback to the City Council.
When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 25
Where: Patterson Appleton Art Center, 400 E. Hickory St.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881.