Upper Arlington officials have begun the search for the city's next top legal adviser, as Jeanine Hummer plans to retire this summer as city attorney.

Hummer has worked for the city for 31 years and has been in her current position since 2002.

Hummer had made her retirement plans known for the last several years. In December, when Upper Arlington City Council approved her 3% raise for 2020, she said she would retire Aug. 31.

With that date drawing near, the city announced via its website May 4 that the search had begun for her replacement.

Rocklin, California-based Ralph Andersen & Associates has been contracted for $32,250 to assist with the process.

"Ralph Andersen will coordinate the search process on council's behalf," said Brendan King, council vice president. "This includes marketing the position through various human resources, legal and municipal government recruitment channels, intake and review of applicant resumes, initial interviews and conversations with prospective candidates, coordination of an interview process with City Council for a select number of top candidates, as well as negotiations with the preferred candidate on council's behalf."

According to the city charter, council also has the authority to enter and finalize negotiations.

King said the next steps in the process will be determined "at the appropriate time."

"For now, we are allowing our consultant to conduct the search for qualified candidates and provide guidance on how we should proceed once they have good options for our consideration," he said.

According to the city's website, the application deadline is June 8.

The website stated the "top tier" of candidates will be interviewed by council members in late June or early July.

"It is anticipated that the newly selected city attorney will join the city of Upper Arlington in late August or, if needed, no later than early September," the website states. "The City Council desires a smooth transition and every effort will be made to accommodate an orderly transition of leadership with the outgoing City Attorney Jeanine Hummer."

The website also states the annual salary for the position will be "significant and competitive for the region."

"The final compensation packet offered will be dependent on qualifications, experience, and overall career history," the site states. "Benefits include retirement provided by the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, with the new city attorney paying 10% (employee share) of the contribution."

Following her raise, which went into effect Jan. 1, Hummer's annual base salary was $152,124. Her benefits compensation is $36,345.

Council president Kip Greenhill said while candidates would be sought throughout the country, he expects the new city attorney to be a resident of the state because the job requires a strong knowledge of Ohio law and attorneys practicing in Ohio must be licensed in the state.

"This person has big shoes to fill," Greenhill said. "Jeanine Hummer has done an exceptionally good job in that role, and that's not an easy job.

"Very few people in that position have the longevity that (Hummer) has. I think that shows how much she knows about the community and how dedicated she is to the community."

Greenhill said council is seeking someone who can continue the "momentum" the city has built in economic development and community outreach.

"I think council is looking for someone who lays out options and gives us direction," he said. "We want to be able to look at options and be able to weigh out our options."

Upper Arlington also has two assistant city attorneys.

King said the new hire will be given the ability to assess the office's operation while working at the discretion of council.

"Whenever an organization secures new leadership at this level, it is typical for that individual to undertake an assessment of existing operations, resources and staffing to determine if any adjustments might be appropriate," King said. "The new city attorney would be afforded the opportunity to conduct such an assessment and bring forth any recommendations to council if appropriate."