City attorney retires, assistant takes his place



City Attorney Steve Gross has retired from municipal service.

His last day in the office was Friday, Jan. 3, according to Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus.

“Assistant City Attorney Kendra Comeau will be acting attorney while Steve is still on payroll taking vacation time, and then she will be our interim city attorney up to May 1, when we decide what we want to do with that role,” Backus said..

Among other duties, Comeau 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.

Comeau joined the city on Sept. 24, 2018 as an assistant city attorney in the legal department. She was born and raised in Auburn. Before ttending college at Willamette University, where she majored in politics and Spanish, she was the track coach for the city’s youth recreation program. She graduated from the University of Washington School of Law in 2011 and has defended private and public employers including a variety of cities, counties and school districts.

Gross had held the position for a little more than 1½ years.

Gross had been Port Townsend’s city attorney when Auburn hired him in June 2018 to succeed long time City Attorney Dan Heid. Gross, however, was no stranger to locals, having served Auburn as its assistant city attorney from November 2008 to July 2014.

Before that, Gross was a senior assistant city attorney for the city of Tacoma, and prior to that he was deputy legal council for the Pierce County Council.

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