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City attorney moving on

Jenifer Ragland

The city of South Lake Tahoe will soon be looking for a new attorney.

Longtime counsel to the City Council, J. Dennis Crabb, announced Tuesday that he will leave his post at the city effective Oct. 1, in order to become a managing partner in the local law firm Rollston, Henderson, Rasmussen & Crabb.

“Replacing Gene (Rasmussen) as managing partner will provide me with a number of private-sector opportunities which would cause conflicts, were I to stay on as the city attorney,” Crabb said.

He was hired as city attorney in 1979, and privatized the service in 1995, working out of his law firm. During his tenure, he gave legal advice for the South Tahoe Redevelopment Agency, Housing Authority, Joint Powers Financing Authority and several other local entities of which the city was a part.

“I am immensely proud of what South Lake Tahoe has accomplished during the time I was privileged to serve,” Crabb said. “This organization has repeatedly done what conventional wisdom said was impossible – the result of energy, commitment and creativity of its staff members and the community they serve.”

At the City Council meeting Tuesday, members expressed their satisfaction with Crabb’s performance and said he will be missed.

“Dennis has brought a wealth of creative and innovative energy to this city and this community over the past 20 years,” Mayor Tom Davis said. “The city will begin immediately to seek a new attorney, but we will be hard-pressed to replace Dennis.”

Crabb came to the South Shore from Monterey, Calif., where he was assistant city attorney. His experience there, dealing with an aggressive redevelopment program and the regulatory Coastal Commission, prepared him well for the city’s fledgling redevelopment effort and a tenuous relationship with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

He played a major role in creating the South Tahoe Redevelopment Agency and saw it through its first projects, including the completion of Embassy Suites at Stateline, the Fantasy Inn and Embassy Vacation Resort at Ski Run and construction of affordable housing.

“The purpose of redevelopment was to create critical mass and momentum so the private sector could take the reins and move the community forward,” Crabb said. “That moment is here and I look forward to the private sector opportunities it presents.”

Other achievements include successfully leading the effort to create a specialized Tahoe license plate, being chief fund-raiser for the city’s welcome sign near the Lake Tahoe Airport and serving two years as president of the Tahoe Tallac Association, an organization he helped found in 1980.

Crabb said he will continue to be active in the Tahoe Basin, serving as counsel to several government and special-interest groups, and as a contract attorney for the towns of Truckee and Jackson.

He plans to continue to live in Tahoe with an office in the Tahoe Keys Village, but said he anticipates opening more offices in the foothills.

The council was scheduled to discuss what process they want to use for hiring a new city attorney during a closed session following the open meeting.

Crabb said he seriously doubted council members would make a decision on the matter Tuesday.


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