As of the writing of this website, there has never been a town attorney general. It is a political office whose time has come. Every town, village and county in the United States has one or more attorneys working for it, full time, part time, or retained on an hourly or other basis. The attorneys may be called town attorney, city attorney, country attorney, corporation counsel or anything that the municipality chooses to call its attorney. The present local attorneys handle a variety of matters for the municipality, including zoning, contracts, slip and fall cases, other litigation in which the town is the defendant usually, and claims against the government. These local attorneys, however, are seldom involved in suing on behalf of the government, and particularly they seldom commence antitrust, civil rights, securities, class-action or derivative lawsuits. Civil lawsuits of this type are considered to be the work of the State Attorney General or lawyers for private plaintiffs. The town attorney general would probably not be authorized to commence any type of criminal proceedings that are not already authorized for a town or village to commence. But this type of criminal litigation already has one or more lawyers doing that type of work for the town. The envisioned function of the town attorney general is to commence civil litigation to enforce various laws, including antitrust statutes and laws prohibiting fraud, to name only two examples of the type of civil case envisioned. Also, lawsuits for breach of contract or for unjust enrichment or for nuisance or for improperly taking municipal funds or for failure to account for sales taxes are additional types of lawsuits to be considered.
Because the federal government has stopped any meaningful enforcement of laws regulating the conduct of major corporations, and the highest legal office in each State has pretty much followed suit (at least in trying to enforce antitrust laws against major corporations), and because private plaintiffs can't be counted on to bring the needed antitrust lawsuits aginst major corporations (because the plaintiffs no longer are in business or the suits are too costly, or because they can't find a qualified attorney willing to commence and maintain such a lawsuit), it has become necessary to assign the job of antitrust law enforcement on the nation's 18,500 towns and villages, through the appointment of a "Town Attorney General".
The Town Attorney General is no more than a State Attorney General functioning as a civil prosecutor for the employing town, village or county. Such attorney, if appointed by the mayor, town manager, or city council, would commence litigation needed to protect the interests of the residents of and small businesses in the municipality, because of the failure of the United States government and State Attorney General to provide such protection. As a result of such litigation efforts, the town, village or county involved can expect to obtain settlements or judgments amounting to somewhere between $5,000 and $20,000 per family each year, for municipalities having a population up to 20,000 or so. Higher populations could expect lower per family results. The reason for this is that if a town of 1,000 persons brings suit, a settlement for $100,000 is $300 per family (assuming the average family size is 3 people). But a $100,000 settlement for a town with a population of 300,000 people (or 100,000 families) is only $1 per family. Settlements tend to be more per persons when fewer persons are involved.
Any town or village having a population of 6,000 (or 2,000 families), for example, could easily expect to receive $10,000 to $15,000 per family per year. This money would be available for distribution as the town saw fit, such as by purchase of broadband services for the entire town; by purchase of supplemental health insurance to cover uninsured and underinsured residents; and for a cash distribution to residents (according to a reasonable distribution formula created by the town).
As New York State Attorney General I would urge New York towns, villages and counties to appoint a Town Attorney General, and would offer courses to train lawyers to function as a town attorney general, and a course for mayors, town managers and city council members on how to most effectively use a Town Attorney General. In effect, the 18,500 town attorneys general would be an extension of the office of the NYS Attorney General, enforcing federal and state laws for the benefit of the specific town, village or county employing the specific town attorney general. When New York State goes from almost no antitrust enforcement up to 18,500 officials (and backup staff) enforcing federal and state laws, including the antitrust laws, there will be a remarkable reduction in violations of law by major corporations, and a corresponding growth of profitability of small business and increase in jobs and compensation for employees of business. In effect, the 18,500 town attorneys general will help to put the evil genie of globalization and outsourcing back into its bottle.