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Green Bay city attorney leaving for Iowa

By Heather Graves
Staff Writer

GREEN BAY – City Attorney Vanessa Chavez is leaving her position here for the same position in Cedar Rapids, a city in eastern Iowa slightly larger than Green Bay.

Chavez tendered her resignation to Mayor Eric Genrich and City Council Tuesday, Oct. 19, with an end date of Friday, Nov. 19.

Green Bay was the right move for my husband and me five years ago, and we have truly grown to love this community,” she said. “Now that we have two small children, the needs of our family have changed. Cedar Rapids offers us the opportunity to live near family. While I would have loved to finish my career in Green Bay, this is the right decision for us at this time.”

During the Oct. 19 City Council meeting, Genrich praised Chavez for her work with the city.

“I had the pleasure of serving with Vanessa for two-and-a-half years… (she) has served this council, this mayor and this community with absolute distinction with the highest ethics and morals,” he said. “We are very excited for the opportunity she has in front of her, excited for her family, but we are absolutely going to miss her.”

Chavez joined the City of Green Bay in March 2016.

During her time as city attorney, Chavez helped guide the city through ethics matters, a pandemic election, including heading an internal report on the November 2020 election, and multiple redevelopment projects, including the Shipyard, Railyard, East Town Mall, Hotel Northland, University Heights and Whitney School/Townhomes.

“I had the opportunity to work with (Chavez) under both administrations and a lot of tough issues we had to deal with, and she was very professional and I wish her all the best,” District 10 Alderperson Mark Steuer said. 

Chavez was nominated by her peers during National Hispanic Heritage Month, and recognized, as a member of the International Municipal Lawyers Association for her exemplary contributions to the Spanish-speaking community.

She was also the recipient of the 2019 Wisconsin Women in Government Rising Star Award for her contributions to local government.

Before coming to Green Bay, Chavez worked as a private attorney with Robles, Rael & Anaya for 10 years in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

While in New Mexico, she served as the vice president for the New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association and the New Mexico Women’s Bar Association.

Chavez attended law school at the University of New Mexico School of Law, graduating in 2008.

“We have appreciated our time in Green Bay, and I have especially appreciated the opportunity to serve the city,” she said. “Thank you for placing your trust in me and my team, and I look forward to hearing about all the great things you will continue to do.”

The Cedar Rapids City Council held a special meeting Wednesday, Oct. 20, to officially appoint Chavez as city attorney, effective Dec. 13.

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