The Newest Addition to the Old Towne

Welcoming Mr. Sheatz, our new city attorney

Gary Sheatz was appointed on March 11, 2019, as the new city attorney of Orange. Before he was appointed he had worked as a Senior Assistant City Attorney for 19 years. It all began at Long Beach State in Mr. Sheatz’ political science class. His professor asked him to stay after class. The professor then asked young Sheatz if he was interested in law. He had never thought about it, but his professor continued to push and advise him towards law school.

After Sheatz graduated from Long Beach, he took a gap year. During that gap year, he worked at a city attorney’s office. Sheatz had already been admitted to California Western School of Law in San Diego. His first year was very competitive and cut-throat but he found himself gravitating towards people who worked hard but didn’t take things to an extreme. They all studied together and fed off each other. Mr. Sheatz says, “I graduated in the class of 1992 and I’m still in touch with these guys. One of them is in Connecticut, another in Chicago, and another in Tennessee. We get together once a year still and during March Madness we’ll get together and meet up, it’s a lot of fun. Those guys ended up being my lifetime friends.”

Sheatz landed a job before he even graduated from college. He did an internship at a city attorney’s office in Santa Ana and worked during his third year of law school, “I had hit it off really well with the city attorney and he created a position for me and I took that job as a legal assistant.” Sheatz explains. So when he graduated, he took time off and studied for the bar exam. Ending up passing the bar exam, he continued to work for the city attorney in that position for about two-three months. As one of the deputy city attorneys had resigned and the boss ended up giving Sheatz the job, no interview, just stormed in and said to young Sheatz, “You’re here already, and you start tomorrow.” He started off doing code enforcement so he was going to court for cases that were under the Santa Ana school code at the time. He also did a little bit of defence work for the city, if the city got sued, Sheatz would be there to defend them. And he also began to do land use, which is conditional use permits and things like that.

Now as a worker of the community we must wonder, besides law, what does our very own city attorney do for the community of Orange? “These are things I have tried to keep on the down low so it doesn’t seem like we are calling attention to ourselves. Finachanally though my wife and I have contributed to certain things and we’ve done it anonymously. We also donated our time for certain events. When the city would hold certain events we’ve gone to those and my boys have helped out at those events.” Sheatz gives me his short and simple story of how he contributes his time, and even his family.

Although he hasn’t been the city attorney for long, he shows so many qualities that will push him through this new challenge. Sheatz is excited for this new role in the community and now so are we, as the people of Orange.

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