FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 11, 2017
The wait for Cecilia Abbott to officially take over as the City’s top attorney ended on Jan. 1, one day after her predecessor Bill Geary retired.
Abbott’s ascension makes her the 61st City Attorney for Kansas City, Missouri, and only the second woman to hold this position, following the trail blazed by fellow St. Teresa’s Academy alum Kathy Hauser.
“I grew up in Brookside and attended St. Teresa’s Academy, just like the first female City Attorney did, so it’s interesting that we have that in common,” Abbott said.
Hired as an Assistant City Attorney in 1990, Abbott’s been promoted five times during her career. She has distinguished herself as a capable leader of the Law Department, which has 52 attorneys and 24 support staff members.
Along the way Abbott has compiled a distinguished list of honors and affiliations, including:
- Local Government Fellow, International Municipal Lawyers Association
- Former board member, UMKC Law Alumni Association
- Graduate of the Kansas City Chamber’s Centurions Leadership Program
- Admitted to practice law in Missouri and Kansas
- First Public Sector Attorney to serve as:
– President, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association/Young Lawyers’ Section
– Chair, Missouri Bar/Young Lawyers’ Section
Her City work is equally impressive, with such notable big-ticket items as the negotiated $2.4 billion sewer overflow consent decree with the EPA and the $30 million arbitration of the MAST pension issue on her resume.
But Abbott said staff development remains a top priority going forward.
“For me, the most rewarding part (of the job) is talking to the other attorneys about their goals and crafting career plans to help them meet their goals,” she said.
City Manager Troy Schulte named Abbott to succeed Geary last July. He said then she was the obvious choice.
“Cecilia knows the City and the issues that we’re facing, so it makes perfect sense to ensure that we’ll sustain not only the legal excellence that we’re accustomed to, but also maintain the continuity to allow for a seamless transition of duties,” Schulte said.
Media inquiries should be directed to City Communications Director Chris Hernandez, 816-513-3474.