League Welcomes New General Counsel Nancy Davidson
The League welcomes our new general counsel, Nancy Davidson! Nancy joins our staff from the Town of Gilbert Attorney’s Office. The League is excited for her to join our team and work alongside our cities and towns. We sit down to meet Nancy and hear about her new role.
Please tell us a little about yourself:
Working as a municipal lawyer has been both a calling and a joy for me. My love of municipal law started when I interned at the Tempe City Attorney's Office during law school. I quickly learned that municipal law is never boring. While in law school, I also worked as an editor on the law review, research assistant to a law professor at Georgetown University, and editor at a non-partisan research and educational institute that was dedicated to the advanced study of constitutional law and privacy.
I was lucky to start my attorney career at Fitzgibbons Law Offices. I learned from highly skilled municipal attorneys and represented various cities and special taxing districts in Central Arizona. From there, I joined Gilbert's Town Attorney's Office. In that role, I advised on a wide range of legal matters, including zoning and land use, development agreements, public records and open meeting laws, constitutional law, code enforcement, procurement, contracts, information technology, data privacy, telecommunications, and general advisory matters. I also assisted with the development of a comprehensive data protection and privacy program and conducted training regarding various legal topics. Over the last few years, I've also written articles and participated in the State Telecommunications committee and various ACAA workgroups, including the recent workgroup regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana in Arizona.
I love Arizona and have no desire to live anywhere else. I'm French Canadian and moved to Arizona in 2002. After obtaining a graduate degree in early childhood development, I worked as an elementary school teacher at Mary Welty Elementary School in Nogales and Lulu Walker Elementary School in Tucson. My husband Rick and I are proud parents to "CJ." Some of our favorite family activities are traveling, hiking, skiing, fishing. During non-pandemic times, I also enjoy playing in a local curling league and volunteering as an instructor for beginner curlers.
What did you take away from your role as a municipal lawyer?
While cities and towns face common issues, one of the takeaways from representing various municipalities in Arizona is that each has its own unique personality and needs. What works for one city in Maricopa County, may not work for another city in Pinal County. In Gilbert, I think its success and growth is due to its smart leadership, highly motivated staff, strong fiscal management, thoughtful planning and zoning, and the effective and mutually supportive relationship between the Town Council and Town Manager's Office.
What are you most excited to work on as you come into this new role?
I'm excited about working with (and learning from) League staff and assisting with the broad range of issues facing Arizona cities and towns today. I am also looking forward to the opportunity of serving as a resource to the municipal attorneys.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Arizona’s cities and towns?
The COVID crisis has forced all cities and towns in Arizona to do more with fewer resources. Municipalities have quickly adapted to executive orders and public health guidelines by taking various measures such as declaring local emergencies, transitioning to remote environments, changing the manner of delivering services, modifying public spaces, utilizing technology to promote resident engagement and deliver critical information, and taking other measures to assist local businesses and the overall community. The crisis has raised a host of legal issues, including those involving local authority, civil liberties, risk management and liability, employment, cybersecurity & privacy, contracts, and other areas of the law. Some cities and towns are also facing
You will also be working closely with the Arizona City Attorneys Association. Why is that association important for Arizona municipal attorneys?
Attorneys representing cities and towns in Arizona face unique challenges and must constantly stay informed on ever-changing and expanding legal issues. The Arizona City Attorneys Association (ACAA) is important because it advances the professional development of municipal attorneys in Arizona by providing training opportunities, legal materials, and assistance through the listserv and various workgroups. Personally, the ACAA and its attorneys have been instrumental to my growth and practice as a municipal attorney. (Another valuable resource has been the Arizona Land Use Law textbook by fellow ACAA member Frank Cassidy and Douglas A. Jorden).
Why is the League important to cities and towns in Arizona?
The League is so important to cities and towns in Arizona because it promotes the interests of local governments in Arizona, represents the interests of cities and towns before the legislature ("strength in numbers"), and provides technical, legal, and training services to its members.