Politics & Government

Charlotte hires longtime Durham official as city attorney

Durham City Attorney Patrick Baker, pictured here after a City Council meeting on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, where he announced that he is resigning to take a job as city attorney for Charlotte.
Durham City Attorney Patrick Baker, pictured here after a City Council meeting on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, where he announced that he is resigning to take a job as city attorney for Charlotte. dvaughan@newsobserver.com

Durham City Attorney Patrick Baker is leaving the Bull City to become Charlotte’s new city attorney, starting in March.

The city of Charlotte announced Monday that Baker has been hired at a salary of $254,000. He replaces Bob Hagemann, who retired as Charlotte city attorney at the end of the year.

In a news release, Charlotte cited Baker’s “extensive experience in municipal law, including civil litigation, employment law, constitutional law, land use, public records and legislative advocacy.”

Baker’s annual salary in Durham, with a raise this year, is $223,982.

Baker gave reporters a copy of his resignation letter on Monday night before the Durham City Council meeting. Dated Monday, Baker wrote to Mayor Steve Schewel that his resignation is effective March 8.

“Serving you, this and past City Councils and administrations as well as all of the past and current residents of the City of Durham over the last 21 years has been the honor of a lifetime,” Baker wrote.

Durham Mayor Steve Schewel said that when council members heard, “we all felt the same thing, which was happiness for you, gratitude for your great work here and a sense of loss because we really are going to miss you in every way.”

Baker said that at age 51, he decided he had one last career challenge in him, and that Charlotte is the only city he’d leave Durham for.

He was born at Camp LeJeune and grew up in Havelock. Baker’s bachelor’s and law degrees are both from Wake Forest University. He moved to Durham in 1993 right out of law school, working first at a private law firm, then at Durham City Hall across the street starting in 1997.

“I spent my entire career at the corner of Chapel Hill and Mangum (streets),” he said.

There will be more work at Baker’s new job, which has more than twice as many staff attorneys.

“Patrick’s diverse skill set, effective counsel and collaborative approach to leadership will benefit our entire city,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said in a release.

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