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Brad Douglas to helm city attorney’s office


Brad Douglas, who’s been Las Cruces’ interim city manager since April and has worked in the city’s attorney’s office for years, was promoted to city attorney on June 16.

Douglas’ new role empowers him as the city’s top legal person, a key position in the leadership structure that governs New Mexico’s second-largest municipality. The city attorney is the chief legal advisor to the city manager, city council and all city departments. The role has come under new focus as the council looks to revamp its municipal court to better respond to minor crimes.

“Brad has been committed to the City and brings experience and stability to this role and our Legal department. He has done an outstanding job managing the Legal department through significant changes,” City Manager Ikani Taumoepeau said in a news release.

Indeed, Douglas has been a constant in an otherwise tumultuous office. For years, Jennifer Vega-Brown handled the post of city attorney. She was fired from the position in October 2023, then filed a lawsuit against the former city manager, Ifo Pili, claiming she was wrongfully terminated. The lawsuit is ongoing.

During this time, the city also struggled to recruit attorneys to fill its department and was forced to contract with local law firms for many services.

The office was then operated by Linda Samples, a Pili hire, in July 2023; but after less than a year, Samples moved on from the city. A spokesperson said Samples left voluntarily and the Bulletin’s efforts to reach Samples were unsuccessful.

Douglas was there for all of it and has outlasted the change to become the chief legal officer in city government after being given the interim title following Samples’ departure.

“He’s had major success in his short time as Interim City Attorney, recruiting skilled attorneys to fill positions that have been vacant for over a year and working on several public safety initiatives. I feel confident that Brad will continue to serve the City well in this capacity,” Taumoepeau said.

Douglas earned his law degree from the University of Mississippi in Oxford in 2012. Before that, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and government from the University of Southern Mississippi.

According to the news release, Douglas has handled the city’s prosecutorial duties since 2021. Douglas is also responsible for reviewing city contracts, overseeing lawyers hired to handle complex litigation (such as lawsuits stemming from police shootings), and advising the city council, city manager and department heads, according to the news release.

Douglas also has private practice experience. The news release said he’s practiced in criminal defense, civil litigation, family law and contract disputes.

“I am looking forward to serving our community in this role. My goals in the coming months will be to place an emphasis on public safety by working with internal staff and community partners to make Las Cruces the most livable and safest City in the area. I also plan to minimize the City’s liability through working with the best outside counsel available and aggressively recruit additional highly qualified attorneys to fill vacant positions in-house that have gone unfilled for an extended period of time,” Douglas stated in the news release.

attorney’s office, Brad Douglas