Former prosecutor O’Connor adjusting to new role as Derby’s city attorney

After spending his career as a prosecutor, Kevin O’Connor is now city attorney for Derby.

“You can teach an old dog new tricks,” O’Connor said.

He spent 17 years working for Nola Foulston in the Sedgwick County district attorney’s office, including about six years as deputy DA before leaving in 2009.

O’Connor ran to replace Foulston, who didn’t seek re-election, but lost in the 2012 Republican primary to Marc Bennett. Also a former deputy DA, Bennett was unopposed in the general election and became the county’s new DA.

While working in the DA’s office, O’Connor took part in prosecuting such high-profile cases as BTK and death penalty cases involving the Carr brothers and Michael Marsh.

A native of Chicago who graduated from the University of Kansas’ law school, O’Connor also spent time working for the justice department in Washington, D.C., as a special prosecutor for several county attorneys and as a special assistant on cases for Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

He began his full-time job in Derby on Dec. 31.

“These are different challenges,” O’Connor said. “It’s exposing me to other areas of the law. I’m excited about the new opportunity.”

As Derby’s city attorney, he is the legal adviser to the City Council, city manager and all city boards, commissions, agencies, officers and employees. He will also supervise the city prosecutor, a part-time position that is contracted out by Derby.

O’Connor replaces Phil Alexander, a longtime Derby city attorney who recently retired.

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