Matt Kuhse Named Permanent Omaha City Attorney


Matt Kuhse speaks during a press conference in which he was named the new Omaha City Attorney by Mayor Jean Stothert on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, at the Omaha-Douglas Civic Center. (Derek Noehren/Daily Record)
By 
Derek Noehren
The Daily Record

Matt Kuhse is the new Omaha City Attorney, Mayor Jean Stohert announced at a news conference last Thursday.

Kuhse had served in the position on an interim basis since December 2020 and succeeds Paul Kratz, who retired after 23 years.

Kuhse has practiced law in Nebraska since 2001. He served as Deputy Douglas County Attorney from 2001 to 2016 and six years as Deputy City Attorney and City Prosecutor from 2010 to 2016.

Kuhse graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1998 before earning his law degree from Creighton University School of Law in 2001.

“The City Law Department is oftentimes behind the scenes on things that occur in the City Council and other departments,” Kuhse said. “While not the biggest department, we are the department that touches every other aspect of city government in one way or another.”

Kuhse said he is deeply honored by Stothert’s trust in him to run the Law Department.

“I want to thank the City Council, who — over these past 10 months — have been more than generous and gracious with me, welcoming me and not asking me anything too tough at council meetings every Tuesday afternoons,” Kuhse said.

Stothert chose Kuhse from a pool of 11 applicants, which was narrowed down to five finalist. They completed the testing process and were referred to Stothert for interviews.

“The city attorney position requires a variety of skills, and, over the past 10 month, Matt has demonstrated excellent ability and has established strong relationships with other department heads and also with the city council,” Sothert said. “I trust Matt’s opinion and counsel and look forward to working together with him.”

The Law Department has 35 employees, including 24 attorneys in the civil and prosecution divisions. Stothert outlined some of the responsibilities of a city attorney.

“The Law Department has many clients — the mayor, the City Council and the city departments —and many responsibilities. Some of these include representing the city on legal matters, managing litigation, advising on labor contracts, real estate and development agreements, prosecuting misdemeanor offenses, drafting city ordinances and investigating claims against the city just to name a few,” Stothert said. “Our team of skilled and dedicated attorneys and legal staff have a wide range of expertise to protect the interest of the city and the taxpayers.”

Kuhse indicated that he plans to continue to be involved in the prosecutor’s office while embracing his new role.

“To the Law Department, specifically the Civil Division, I am excited for this new part of my career. You will not find better lawyers in any law firm in the city of Omaha in how they represent their clients. They do excellent work (and) they work hard. The lawyers and staff that work up there are true government people that care about government and care about doing their job and doing it well. I’m really pleased to work with them and continue working with them in this new role,” Kuhse said during the news conference.

He continued: “Being a prosecutor had been my full-time career up until now, and I’m really going to miss the people. I am not going away. This is not going to be a situation where I’m not going to be involved in what’s going on down there. I intend to still be involved. There are several projects and initiatives that have begun down in the prosecutor’s office that I’m committed to, invested in and that I’m going to continue working on.”

The city attorney is a civil service role appointed by the mayor and does not have term limits. When asked if this was his potential last job, Kuhse indicated he’s in it for the long term.

“Yes,” Kuhse said. “It is, and it isn’t a tough decision to make because I’ve worked in government and public service my entire career, because that’s what I wanted to do was serve the public. This is just another extension of that. It’s a different way of serving the public than what I’ve done as a prosecutor, so this is really it for me. Quite frankly, in my mind there’s nothing really I can think of that would top this job, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Kuhse turned 45 in June. He will make a yearly salary of $184,329 in his new role.

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