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SUSANA ALCALA WOOD, City Attorney

BACKGROUND and EXPERIENCE

Susana Alcala Wood was appointed City Attorney on March 19, 2018.   An attorney specializing in Municipal law, Susana has worked for multiple cities throughout California.  Susana previously worked for the City of Sacramento as a Supervising Deputy City Attorney from April 2001 to June 2006 where she supervised the Code Enforcement Section, and the Advisory Section.  As the Code Enforcement Supervisor, Susana directed a team of 5 lawyers and 4 support staff and spearheaded all code enforcement, criminal prosecutions, blight and nuisance abatement activities for the Office.  She advised and trained all city enforcement staff on strategies, code compliance and administrative abatement procedures, as well as overseeing and working on the City’s first gang abatement action civil injunction. Susana also transferred to the Advisory Section where she oversaw and directed the work of the advisory lawyers that provided general governmental advice to all City Departments.  Prior to returning to the City of Sacramento in March, Susana served as the Assistant City Attorney for the City of Stockton from November 2013 to March 2018, where her responsibilities included serving as legal advisor to several Council Committees and Citizen advisory commissions.  Susana also served as the principal Legal Advisor to the Stockton Police Department and was responsible for all administrative functions of the office, including budget and personnel matters. She worked closely with the City Manager’s Office and City Clerk’s Office.

Prior to her work at the City of Stockton, Susana Alcala Wood served as the City Attorney for Modesto from 2006-2013.  She was the primary legal advisor to the City Council, Council Committees, City Manager, City Clerk and City Auditor.  Susana was responsible for all administrative functions of the Office along with overseeing and directing hundreds of investigations involving allegations of harassment, discrimination, and related complaints involving city staff, department heads, and city management.  While at Modesto, Susana guided the City Council through their shift from general elections to by-district elections, and all the accompanying Charter changes.  She worked closely with the City Manager’s Office and City Departments to implement any applicable recommendations.

Susana also previously worked as a Deputy City Attorney for City of Stockton from January 1993 – April 2001 and for the City of El Monte from December 1991 to December 1992.  In both offices she was responsible to advising multiple departments including Code Enforcement, Fire, Library, and Police.  She worked with city staff on addressing and eliminating blight, deteriorated and dangerous housing, and all nuisance conditions including quality of life issues, drug, red-light, and gang activity.  Susana began her work with the City of El Monte in 1988 while still in law school and clerked for the City Attorney for three years.  Upon passing the California Bar exam in 1991, she was appointed as a Deputy City Attorney.

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

Ms. Wood served as a member and as the Chair of the League of California Cities, City Attorney’s Department Legal Advocacy Committee, City Attorney’s Department Municipal Law Handbook Committee, and has served in various training and speaking capacities to organizations and public agencies throughout the state on the topics of Local Government Law as well as Code Enforcement.

EDUCATION

Ms. Wood received her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy-Ethics and Public Policy in 1987 and received her Juris Doctorate from Whittier College, School of Law – Los Angeles, California in May 1991.