Auburn hires successor to retiring City attorney

Port Townsend City Attorney Steven Gross gets the nod

Dan Heid has been the City of Auburn’s attorney for more than 16 years.

But as he told a recent meeting of the Auburn City Council, this month he’s calling it quits.

The City has already chosen his replacement – present Port Townsend City Attorney Steven Gross.

Gross, however, is no stranger to locals, having served Auburn as its assistant city attorney from November 2008 to July 2014.

Before coming to Auburn, Gross was a senior assistant city attorney for the City of Tacoma, and before that he was deputy legal council for the Pierce County Council from November 2003 to October 2006.

Gross earned his law degree from the Seattle University School of Law and his bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., in Information Systems and Management.

Among other duties, as Auburn’s new attorney, Gross will lead the legal department, draft, review and approve ordinances, resolutions, contracts and other legal instruments and documents, provide written and oral opinions and legal advice concerning city affairs, administer compliance with various state and local laws and statutes, and represent the city in judicial and administrative proceedings.

Heid’s retirement caps a legal career spent entirely in the public sector. Before coming to Auburn, he was city attorney for the then-new City of Lakewood, and before that he was attorney in turn for the cities of SeaTac and the Eastern Washington cities of Sunnyside and Toppenish. Prior to that, Heid was an assistant city attorney for the City of Chehalis, and fresh out of law school he was deputy prosecuting attorney for Lewis County.

Heid is a veteran of the Vietnam War.

Heid and his wife of 45 years, Cheryl, have a constellation of kids and grandkids, and none of them here, he said, so they plan to hit the road and see more of them in the days to come.

“I’d like to see more of my grandkids before they grow up,” Heid said. “I’m 69 years old, and I wanted to retire before I’m 70.

“I’ve enjoyed very much what I have done here,” he said “That doesn’t mean everything goes the way you want. … But if something doesn’t go the way you want it to, that doesn’t take away from the fact that you put your effort in, and you appreciated the opportunity to make a difference.”

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