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City Attorney stepping down after 30 years

Post Date:02/24/2020 4:18 PM


Cecilia AbbottCecilia Abbott, the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s top attorney for the past three years, on Monday announced that she’s retiring after 30 years of service.
Hired in 1990 as an assistant city attorney, Abbott was promoted five times during her tenure, serving as Deputy City Attorney before assuming the top spot in 2017. Her time as City Attorney produced several notable moments, including the recent Missouri Supreme Court reversal of a trial court judgment against the City that would have required the City to pay over $14.5 million to apartment, condo and trailer park owners as rebates on trash collections since 2008.
Abbott’s other career highlights include:

  • Successfully defending the City in an arbitration, disallowing retroactive pension credit not approved by the City Council for new employees and saving the City over $30 million in pension contributions
  • Negotiating the $2.4 billion sewer overflow consent decree with EPA from 2005 – 2010
  • In 2014, representing the City as a defendant supporting gay marriage in a lawsuit filed to compel the State of Missouri to recognize out of state gay marriages
  • In 2014, successfully defending a challenge to the City’s campaign contribution limitation ordinance
  • First Public Sector Attorney to serve as:
    • President, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association/Young Lawyers’ Section
    • Chair, Missouri Bar/Young Lawyers’ Section
  • Graduate of The Chamber’s Centurions Leadership Program and was the first public sector employee to serve as chair of the Centurions Steering Committee
  • Former Board Member, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Selected as a Mentor by the Association for Women Lawyers Foundation
  • Designated a Local Government Fellow by the International Municipal Lawyers Association in 2014 and re-certified in 2019

“Cecilia has been a remarkable leader for our City,” Acting City Manager Earnest Rouse said. “Her skill as an attorney is outstanding and our residents and our entire legal staff have benefited greatly from her dedication to public service.”

Abbott’s last day is April 30.
Rouse is appointing Deputy City Attorney Matt Gigliotti to serve as Acting City Attorney effective May 1, 2020.
Gigliotti’s career with the City dates to 2005 when he first served as a law student intern. He has been a full-time employee since January 2007. He is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri and the Tulane University School of Law where he earned a certificate of concentration in environmental law and was an editor for the Tulane Environmental Law Journal.
In his time with the City he has had both litigation and corporate assignments, providing legal support to virtually every department in the City at one time or another. His background in environmental law has enabled him to continue to provide legal services for the overflow control program even after his appointment to Deputy City Attorney last fall.

A graduate of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Centurions Leadership Program, Gigliotti's certified as a “Local Government Fellow” by the International Municipal Lawyers Association, and was named a 2016 “Up and Coming Lawyer” in the Public Service category by Missouri Lawyer’s Media.

The Law Department is comprised of 53 attorneys and 30 support staff.

Media contact: Chris Hernandez, City Communications Director, 816-513-3474.

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