Home > News > News Releases > Saint John Common Council congratulates retiring City Solicitor, Mr. John Nugent, and announces the appointment of Ms. Mélanie Tompkins to the position of General Counsel

Saint John Common Council congratulates retiring City Solicitor, Mr. John Nugent, and announces the appointment of Ms. Mélanie Tompkins to the position of General Counsel


After a distinguished career spanning forty-five years of service to the citizens of Saint John, the City Solicitor, Mr. John Nugent, Q.C., is retiring. The City is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Mélanie Tompkins as the incoming General Counsel for the City of Saint John, effective October 1, 2020.

“On behalf of our community, Common Council, and staff, I extend our sincere appreciation and congratulations to Mr. Nugent for a wonderful career of outstanding public service. We wish him a long and happy retirement, and continued success in all of his future endeavours,” said Mayor Don Darling.  

Mr. Nugent embarked upon his career with the City of Saint John when he joined the Legal Department in 1975 as an Articling Law Clerk. He was subsequently called to the New Brunswick Bar and assumed the position of Solicitor in January 1976. From that point forward, Mr. Nugent assumed a succession of roles within the City’s Legal Department, and was appointed City Solicitor in June 1996.

As City Solicitor, Mr. Nugent has represented the City on a wide variety of matters before a broad range of administrative tribunals and at all levels of the court, including application to the Supreme Court of Canada. Mr. Nugent has advised Common Council and provided legal advice at the most senior level to the City Manager’s Office and City staff, and has led, developed, and mentored a municipal legal team fully prepared to help guide the City through the transformational changes and growth opportunities the City faces.

“If there ever was a perfect example of a selfless professional career public servant, John is it,” said City Manager John Collin.

In recognition of Mr. Nugent’s accomplishments over an exemplary career, he was named to the Queen’s Counsel of New Brunswick in 2019. Queen’s Counsel is the highest honour in the Province’s legal profession.

“As we bid farewell and best wishes to Mr. Nugent on his retirement after a tremendously successful career, we welcome Ms. Tompkins in her new role as General Counsel for the City of Saint John,” said Mayor Darling.

“Ms. Tompkins brings energy, drive and grace to everything that she does, and we appreciate the commitment she has already shown to serving the citizens of Saint John. We look forward to working with her in her new role,” adds Darling.

Ms. Tompkins was called to the New Brunswick Bar in 1998 and joined the City’s Legal Department as a Solicitor in 2003, after several years of private practice. In her new role as General Counsel, Ms. Tompkins will assume the responsibilities of City Solicitor and will lead the City’s legal team.  

Ms. Tompkins is well qualified to help the City meet the legal challenges of today and tomorrow, bringing outstanding credentials to her new role, including a Master of Laws Degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, and extensive experience in every legal domain relevant to municipal governance. In her career with the City, Ms. Tompkins has successfully litigated cases on behalf of our citizens at every level of the judicial system, up to and including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Ms. Tompkins has an in-depth understanding of the City’s organization and services and has built strong working relationships with staff in every service area, and with the City’s many partners and stakeholders. Over the last six years, Ms. Tompkins worked closely with Saint John Water, beginning as Legal and Commercial Manager for the Safe, Clean Drinking Water Project, the largest municipal infrastructure project in New Brunswick’s history, and then transitioning to Manager of Legal Services and Contract Management for Saint John Water in 2014. Her role at Saint John Water expanded to include senior leadership responsibilities, which led to her appointment as Legal Counsel to Saint John Water and Director of Special Projects in June of 2019.   

“Ms. Tompkins brings a depth of legal expertise, experience and leadership that will serve Council and the City well in her role as General Council. We are extremely fortunate to have her in this position, and extend best wishes to her and her team for continued success going forward,” said City Manager Collin.

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