Santa Barbara City Attorney Steve Wiley will retire from his position on Dec. 28. The City Council has appointed Sarah Knecht to serve as the acting city attorney to provide legal guidance to the City Council, the city administrator and all city departments.
Since 2004, Knecht has served as assistant city attorney, advising departments on a variety of municipal law issues. In this position, she has managed all legal aspects of the former Redevelopment Agency, including projects related to downtown revitalization, affordable housing and the recent dissolution of the agency. She has represented the city in high-profile lawsuits and municipal code violations.
Knecht played a lead role in negotiating the financing of airline terminal improvements and major infrastructure upgrades for water, wastewater and harbor facilities.
Prior to her employment with the city, she worked as an associate attorney for Hatch and Parent (Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schrek) and Rutan and Tucker, providing legal services to public agencies ranging from the City of Carpinteria to the Goleta West Sanitary District.
She received a bachelor’s degree from California State University-Dominguez Hills and a juris doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.
“The council’s appointment of Ms. Knecht as the acting city attorney will ensure a smooth transition for the office while a nationwide recruitment is under way,” Mayor Helene Schneider said. “With her experience and background in Santa Barbara municipal issues, I’m confident that she will successfully represent the city in all legal matters.”
An executive recruitment process is under way with a permanent appointment anticipated by early 2014.
— Nina Johnson is an administrative assistant for the City of Santa Barbara.