The Ann Arbor City Council conducted a virtual public interview with City Attorney candidate Atleen Kaur on Wednesday evening. Kaur spoke of her past work with the city of Ann Arbor and the experience that has prepared her for the role.
Current City Attorney Stephen Postema will step down next year in order to spend time with his family after his wife was diagnosed with cancer. Having served for 18 years, Postema is the longest-serving city attorney, according to MLive.
City Council selected two finalists for the position in a closed session meeting on Sept. 27, one of whom withdrew from consideration on Sept. 29.
Kaur has been a resident of Ann Arbor for 18 years. She is currently the assistant general counsel of the ZF Group in Michigan and is a founding member of the South Asian Bar Association of Michigan.
Kaur said she is interested in the City Attorney position because she wants to contribute to the community.
“The idea of being of service to the residents of Ann Arbor, to bring something good to the community that has given me so much good, really is appealing,” Kaur said. “It does not strike me as something that I can pass up easily.”
Kaur also stated that she has experience simplifying complex legal situations so that they can be easily understood. She believes this is something that would greatly benefit the council in crafting resolutions and policies.
“I think (as a lawyer), you have to talk about words that have special meaning to your clients and develop the judgment of how much your client understands and how much they need to understand,” Kaur said. “This, I think, comes only with experience.”
Councilmember Linh Song, D-Ward 2, asked Kaur what she believes are markers of success for the City Attorney’s office. Kaur said she believes that client and team satisfaction are fundamental.
“If client satisfaction and team satisfaction can coexist, then I’d believe I’ve done my job,” Kaur said. “That harmony is success.”
Kaur also had the opportunity to ask the council what they believe is a measure of success for the office. Councilmember Jeff Hayner, D-Ward 1, said that being able to craft resolutions with language that prevents the City Council from getting sued as frequently would indicate success.
“I think success is not a lot of drama coming out of the office,” Hayner said. “An office that works smoothly and gets a lot of work done in what is considered an acceptably timely manner (is a successful office).”
Daily Staff Reporter Navya Gupta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.