The City of Oak Ridge has appointed Senior Staff Attorney Tammy Dunn as the next city attorney.
Dunn assumes her new position this week, when current City Attorney Kenneth Krushenski retires, a press release said. Dunn, a native Oak Ridger, has been with the city’s Legal Department for more than 20 years, beginning when she was still in law school, the press release said.
“Technically, I worked for the city even earlier than that,” Dunn said in the press release. “I worked at the Oak Ridge Public Library Children’s Room during my break between undergrad and law school.”
She worked as a law clerk in the Legal Department for two years before stepping in as acting staff attorney for six months before officially transitioning to staff attorney, a role she filled for two more years, the press release said.
While she primarily works on contracts, Dunn has served in many capacities during her time with the city, the press release said. She serves as the city’s Title VI coordinator, represents the city manager in personnel matters before the Personnel Advisory Board, and provides legal advice to all city departments with respect to policies and procedures, as well as state, local, and federal laws and regulations.
“I try to find options to resolve problems and implement new ideas,” Dunn said. “I will take a look at something and determine what needs to be done to accomplish the goal or what legislation or policy might need to be changed to get the outcome the city is working towards.”
For several years, she also served as staff liaison to the Oak Ridge Beer Permit Board before those responsibilities were transferred from the Legal Department to the Police Department, the press release said.
She was selected by the City Attorney Evaluation Committee, which heard praise from her colleagues, Council members, and outgoing City Attorney Krushenski.
“I couldn’t think of a better person to fill this position than Ms. Dunn,” Krushenski said in the press release. “We have worked together for many years, and she is more than qualified to take this on. I wish her the best, and I am looking forward to seeing what new things she accomplishes.”
Dunn said Krushenski has always made sure that she has been able to expand her legal knowledge.
“He gave me opportunities to participate in litigation and allowed me the experiences I needed to prepare me for this new role,” she said.
Part of that means preparing her for what she wants the future of the Legal Department to look like, the press release said.
“I would like to move the Legal Department together into the same space, and the City Manager is on board with some reorganization within the building to accomplish that goal in the near future,” Dunn said. “Right now, our offices are separated, and have been for my entire career here, so it will be nice to have everyone in one place to foster teamwork since we will be hiring a staff attorney to replace my former position.”
Dunn said she also wants to put a focus on increasing the city’s and Legal Department’s technology when it comes to record-keeping.
“I am looking forward to digitizing more of our records to provide faster access for employees, implementing a plan for review and updates to the city’s codes, and working with the city clerk on a citywide records retention and destruction policy to help address the city’s physical storage limitations,” she said.
“The city was indeed fortunate to have someone with the skills in municipal law as those of Ms. Dunn,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said. “Her familiarity with Oak Ridge and many years of experience with major issues makes her the right person for the position at the right time.”
Dunn has a daughter in the Oak Ridge School System and has lived in Oak Ridge most of her life, the press release said. Her first day as city attorney was January 4, 2021. Krushenski retires on January 8, 2021.