MONTROSE – Following the resignation of Robert Hill earlier this year, the new Montrose County Attorney has officially come on board. Teresa Williams seems delighted to be putting down roots down in Montrose.
Most recently, Williams served as city attorney in Lee’s Summit, Mo.; she now has a three-year contract to serve as Montrose County’s staff attorney. After just one week on the job, Williams said she’s excited to become a member of the county’s team, and looks forward to being productive in her role.
“The law department is a resource to the rest of the organization,” Williams said in an interview with The Watch on Friday, Dec. 20. “We are here to help and to provide the best legal advice or assistance on a project. I really like to build strong relationships with our departments.”
Williams, who has spent her career practicing law in-house for municipalities, counties and cities, grew up in Texas, and attended the University of Texas Law School. She practiced law for the city of Houston for about seven years, and went on to represent the City of Sugarland for four years after graduating.
From there, Williams and her husband, Rusty, made the jump north to Alaska where she was hired as a borough attorney in Ketchikan. Williams stayed on for five years in Ketchikan, which is, she said, known as “one of the rainiest places on earth.” Her husband needed more sunshine, so she applied for a city attorney position in Glenwood Springs, Colo., where they lived for the next eight years. Then the couple returned to Alaska, where, Williams said ruefully, it was finally proven “my husband and Alaska don’t mix.”
The couple returned to Colorado, where Williams served as county attorney first in Archuleta County, and then in Lee’s Summit, where she rebuilt the city’s legal department. Given the couples’ love of western Colorado, Williams said, when the Montrose County attorney position came up, she immediately applied. She takes over duties from acting interim County Attorney Carolyn Clawson, who will resume her role as assistant county attorney.
“It was like my dream job,” Williams said. “We have seen a lot of this world, and this is where we would like to put down some roots. We love being back in western Colorado, where people aren’t living on top of each other, and you don’t have to drive on five-lane highways to get to work.”
Looking forward to her role as county attorney, Williams said she aims to help the county be as productive as possible.
“The way I look at this role, I have always felt like a law department shouldn’t be a hindrance” when it comes to accomplishing something, Williams said. “We need to help our clients find a way of getting something done. Hopefully we can be involved from the very beginning of projects, rather than cleaning them up at the end.”
For the Montrose Board of County Commissioners, who ultimately approved Williams’ hiring, her experience made her the outstanding applicant.
“Williams was a clear choice,” Commissioner David White said in a press release. “She has extensive experience in municipal law as in-house counsel for both cities and counties, with a particular expertise in land use, labor issues, property transactions, economic development, taxes and administrative law. We are pleased to welcome her aboard.”
So far, Williams said, transition to life in Montrose County has been great.
“I love everything about Montrose,” she continued. “The people here are unbelievably friendly and helpful. Everyone here has just been wonderful.”
In addition to her husband, Williams is accompanied to Montrose by the couple’s two dogs and two cats.