City Attorney's Office

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204 E. Cook Street
Santa Maria, CA 93454 

Hours of Operation: Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by appointment only, closed Fridays.

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The City Attorney’s Office manages the litigation and claims filed against and by the City. This is accomplished by providing excellent legal services. The City Attorney's Office has a staff of highly talented professionals with the expertise to provide comprehensive legal services that encompass any type of issue faced by our growing city. Additionally, the office continually strives to efficiently manage resources to meet the daily operational needs in a cost-effective and timely manner, while building the internal capacity to flexibly respond to the City’s ever changing legal needs.

Thomas Watson


City Attorney

City Attorney's Office
204 E. Cook Street
Santa Maria, CA 93454
Phone: (805) 925-0951 ext. 2310
City Fax: (805) 928-1275


Thomas T. Watson is an experienced litigator whose daily activities include:

  • Day-to-day legal advice for City officials and employees
  • Defending the City, taxpayers, and its officers and employees in civil litigation
  • Coordinating and monitoring the investigation, settlement, and litigation arising from personal injury claims
  • Prosecuting criminal and civil violations of the City's Municipal Code
  • Defending minor personal injury suits against the City
  • Negotiating civil settlements, franchises, and agreements on behalf of the City
  • Drafting contracts, opinions, resolutions, and ordinances
  • Handling minor collection cases in the City's behalf
  • Representing the City in discovery matters initiated by third parties
  • Representing the Successor Agency
  • Assisting in Municipal Code updates
  • Maintaining a law library
  • Performing liaison activities with news media 


  • Juris Doctorate: Santa Clara University
  • Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, California State University, Fresno    
  • City Attorney/City Prosecutor, City of Santa Maria
  • City Attorney, City of Tracy
  • City Attorney/City Prosecutor, City of South Lake Tahoe
  • City Attorney, City of Woodlake
  • City Attorney, City of Mendota    
  • City Attorney, City of Lindsay
  • City Attorney, City of Porterville 
  • Interim City Attorney, City of Visalia
  • Interim City Attorney, City of Farmersville
  • Deputy County Counsel, Tulare County
  • Litigator in Private Law Firms, Practiced in Tulare, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus, Sacramento, Kern, Mariposa and Kings Counties primarily.
  • Admitted to Practice in California and Nevada, as well as all Federal Courts in California and Nevada. 

Current Military Service

  • First Lieutenant, California State Guard, Judge Advocate
  • Legal Support Command, assigned to Camp San Luis Obispo Joint Training, Youth Programs and        Military Museum Command


The City Attorney manages the litigation and claims filed against and by the City.  The City Attorney provides day-to-day advice to City officials and employees. The City Attorney drafts ordinances, rules, resolutions, contracts, and policies.    


To provide effective representation in the public interest.


2022-23 Goals and Objectives

  1. Assist the Risk Manager in expanding the pool of approved workers’ compensation defense attorneys to achieve more expeditious results.


  2. Perform a review of City’s tort and personal injury defense attorney network to ensure the City maintains a pool of quality litigators that are capable of achieving economically advantageous results for the City.


  3. Assist the Community Development Department in the City’s downtown revitalization efforts.


  4. Review all contracts, resolutions, and ordinances presented to the City Attorney’s Office.


  5. Coordinate with the City Clerk’s Office in the review of, and response to, Public Records Requests.


  6. Provide public safety support to the Police Department by assisting in red light and drug abatement actions as necessary to reduce illegal prostitution and drug activities from occurring at businesses and housing within the City.


  7. Provide support services to the Fire Department for its enforcement of illegal fireworks Municipal Code violations.


  8. Prepare a request for proposals for contract criminal prosecution services in anticipation of the retirement of the City’s contracted City Prosecutor.


  9. Collaborate with the Community Development Department on the comprehensive update to the General Plan.


  10. Continue supporting City departments in achieving City Council’s priorities by giving sound legal advice and assisting staff in formulating feasible solutions.


City Attorney's Office Organizational Chart

*The City Attorney is an appointed officer identified in Government Code Section 87200 and files statements of economic interests with the City Clerk's office. Copies of the Statements of Economic Interests filed by the City Attorney may be obtained by visiting the offices of the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) or the City Clerk. The physical address of the FPPC is 428 J Street, Suite 620, Sacramento, California 95814. The physical address of the City Clerk's office is 110 E. Cook Street, Room 3, Santa Maria, CA 93454. The Statements of Economic Interests (Form 700) for some State and local government agency elected officers may be available in electronic format on the FPPC's website at