Newly appointed Laguna Beach City Attorney Megan Garibaldi speaks at the city council meeting in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Aug. 8, 2023. (Laguna Beach City Council/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)
A new city attorney was unanimously appointed by the Laguna Beach City Council in Southern California on Aug. 8 to replace the current city attorney, who will retire after over four decades of service.
Megan Garibaldi with the law firm Best Best & Krieger will take over as city attorney on Sept. 11.
The city has entered an agreement with the law firm for Ms. Garibaldi’s services for five years with an option to renew for three.
Currently, Best Best & Krieger provides legal services for unincorporated cities in Orange County, including Orange, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel, and Yorba Linda.
Ms. Garibaldi grew up in Huntington Beach, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California–Santa Barbara in 2004, and graduated from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in 2009.
She has been with Best Best & Krieger for five years and previously, worked for the law firm Rutan & Tucker for nine years as an associate and partner.
Alisha Winterswyk, also of Best Best & Krieger, will join her as assistant city attorney.
“We are thrilled to have been selected and to get the opportunity to serve the city, and we can’t wait to start,” Ms. Garibaldi said during the council meeting.
Ms. Garibaldi identified Ms. Winterswyk as a California Environmental Quality Act—better known as CEQA—and Coast Act expert, which will help them, she said, offer legal advice to the council on such issues.
Laguna Beach City Hall area in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Oct. 15, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
“As a team, we hope to serve the city’s legal needs and we know that CEQA and coastal issues are paramount to the issues that the city faces daily,” Ms. Garibaldi said.
Current City Attorney Phil Kohn will retire at the end of the year after assisting with the transition, ending his 41 years of service to the city since 1982.
Mayor Bob Whalen welcomed the two new city attorneys, and commended Mr. Kohn on his lengthy years of service.
“No one will ever exceed your tenure I’m certain of that … you’re going to go into the Hall of Fame for that,” he said during the meeting.
The new city attorneys also praised Mr. Kohn’s long career.
“It is just absolutely amazing that someone has that kind of longevity and skill for it and I’m just lucky to be stepping into his shoes,” Ms. Garibaldi said.
The city will keep Mr. Kohn, through his firm Rutan & Tucker, as a consultant for six months to help with the transition.
Laguna Beach officials have been searching for qualified law firms since March when they learned of Mr. Kohn’s retirement plans.