New City Solicitor brings 42 years’ experience

COVINGTON, Ky. – Covington’s new City Solicitor is intimately familiar with the city – he’s practiced law in it for more than four decades.

“Every day of my career, I’ve practiced in Covington,” David Davidson said. “You learn a lot about a community in 42 years.”

Davidson’s passion for the city was readily apparent during the interview process, and – coupled with his legal acumen and scope of experience – it became clear that he was the right person for the position, City Manager Ken Smith said.

“David is a terrific person who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role of City Solicitor,” Smith said. “He’s a longtime Covington resident who knows the community, our residents, and our businesses.”

A graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, Davidson began practicing law in 1980 with the Covington law firm of Jim Cobb and Bill Oldfield. That firm later became Davidson, Rieger, Oldfield, and Smith, and Davidson remained there until taking a position with Strauss & Troy in 2010.

He replaces Michael Bartlett, who left the City to pursue an opportunity in the private sector.

Mayor Joe Meyer echoed Smith in describing Davidson’s strengths.

“You look at David’s wide-ranging experience as a successful attorney for 42 years, his knowledge of the city, and his deep commitment to its success, and it’s clear that he brings significant value to the position,” Meyer said.

The Office of the City Solicitor tackles legal issues that include reviewing legal terms of contracts, defending the City in lawsuits, overseeing compliance and licensing of alcohol-related businesses, and advising staff and elected officials so laws governing public agencies are followed. Attorneys in the office also monitor the work of outside counsel brought in to handle technical issues like bonds and development agreements.

Davidson said he’s excited about the job for what he said are likely “obvious reasons.”

“It’s why anybody would want to work at the City of Covington – there’s just a lot of good stuff going on in this city and it’s good to be part of it,” he said.

Davidson said he was well-prepared for the wide-ranging demands of the job.

Along with his legal practice, Davidson for six years served as chancellor to the Episcopal Church Diocese in Lexington, Ky. In the Episcopal Church a chancellor is a legal adviser, usually an attorney, appointed by the presiding bishop or a diocesan bishop. The chancellor advises on matters of secular and ecclesiastical law.

“That was basically ‘general counsel’ for the church,” Davidson said. “That was during the time when parishes were leaving over issues about the ordination of gay people, there were property issues and governance issues, insurance questions. Every church was having its problems with one allegation or another. It was a variety of things, and I was able to do that. So, the more I heard about this City position, the more I thought, ‘I’m ready and able to do that kind of work.’ ”

Davidson arrived at City Hall about a month ago and said he’s enjoying working with the City’s talented legal staff. “The assistants here are really good and very smart,” Davidson said.

He’s also pleased to be working with what he called “good leadership.”

“I’m very happy with how good the leadership is here, and to see how hard they work,” he said. “We have experienced, good, capable people who work hard for this city.”

In turn, City leadership has taken note of how hard Davidson works too.

“In the short time he’s been here, David has jumped in with both feet, getting up to speed on the many important matters handled by the legal department,” Ken Smith said. “I have no doubt that he will quickly become an invaluable member of our leadership team.”

Davidson, who grew up along the shores of another community along the Ohio River, New Albany, Ind., said he senses similarity between the two cities.

“I think Ohio River Valley communities have a lot of things in common,” he said. “I guess there’s something about a river. I’ve never felt anything other than at home in Covington. I get to be who I want to be here.”

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