City Attorney

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The City Attorney is the chief legal officer of the city and serves as general counsel to the Carlsbad Municipal Water District. The City Attorney is responsible for providing legal advice and representation to the City Council, Boards and Commissions, and all city officers and employees. Among other things, the City Attorney makes recommendations for ordinances, resolutions or other documents or procedures affecting the legal position of the city; provides legal opinions; attends all meetings of the City Council, and other boards and commissions as necessary; reviews all contracts and instruments to which the city is a party; enforces city laws and regulations; and reviews and analyzes all state and federal legislation affecting the city. In addition, the City Attorney represents the City of Carlsbad in civil litigation matters and acts as a liaison to outside special counsel. The City Attorney is appointed by the Mayor and City Council and oversees 5 staff attorneys and 2 administrative professionals.


The mission of the City Attorney’s Office is to provide the highest quality legal services to the City of Carlsbad, including representing the city’s legal interests in court and before administrative agencies and prosecuting violations of the Carlsbad Municipal Code.

Executive Staff

City Attorney
Cindie K. McMahon

Senior Assistant City Attorney
Allegra Frost

Assistant City Attorney
Gina Herrera

Assistant City Attorney
Jennifer True

Deputy City Attorney
Anayeli Zavala

Deputy City Attorney / City Prosecutor
Marissa Kawecki


Quick Links

City Codes, Policies and Records

State Codes


Can the City Attorney give legal advice to private citizens or residents of the city?

No. The City Attorney is the lawyer for the City of Carlsbad and advises the City Council and all other city officials and employees in their roles with the city. By law, the City Attorney is prohibited from representing or advising private individuals, businesses, or groups. This includes providing private individuals with a legal interpretation of federal, state or city codes.

If you need advice regarding a legal matter, you may be able to find a private attorney or get help on your legal matter through one of these resources:

What is the difference between the City Attorney and the District Attorney?

The District Attorney is elected by the voters of San Diego County. The District Attorney’s Office prosecutes violations of state code in the county. It also has specialized units that deal with such issues as family support, crime prevention and juvenile services.

The City Attorney is appointed by the City Council of the City of Carlsbad and provides legal advice and services to the City Council and all city officials and employees. The City Attorney’s Office also prosecutes violations of city codes but does not prosecute violations of state codes.

I believe the city is responsible for injuries or damages I sustained. What can I do?

If you believe you have a valid claim against the city, contact the City's Risk Management Division at 442-339-2470.

Can I file a complaint against my neighbor with the City Attorney's Office?

No. The City Attorney's Office represents the City of Carlsbad and cannot assist you in a private dispute. You may need to speak to a private attorney to seek advice on resolving your dispute. You may also wish to speak to the city’s Code Enforcement Division if you believe your neighbor has committed a building code or other code violation. If you believe your neighbor has committed a crime, please contact the Police Department. The Police Department’s nonemergency phone number is 442-339-2197.