Whether he’s in a classroom, a conference hall or the council chambers, City Attorney Thomas Gwosdz has always had a passion for public service.
Gwosdz (his last name rhymes with “push”) will retire from the City on June 30 after twelve years to take a position with the law firm of Roberts, Odefey, Witte & Wall, LLP, where he’ll represent local government entities across southeast Texas.
Before he became an attorney, Gwosdz spent eight years teaching high school English in Needville, Texas. After law school, he started working in the private sector writing contracts for big corporations, but he found that he didn’t like it much.
“In that field, your work is often judged by the size of the transaction, and I wasn’t very motivated by dollar signs,” Gwosdz said.
Gwosdz left the private sector and wound up at the Texas Association of School Boards. In addition to representing every school board in the state, Gwosdz returned to his teaching roots as he trained trustees and traveled the state giving conference presentations.
Empowering others through education continued to be a theme after Gwosdz joined the City of Victoria as the city attorney. In addition to training employees and local commission members, Gwosdz teaches at government conferences around the state and is often called on to give his expert opinion on economic development, Robert’s Rules of Order and government ethics.
Gwosdz was recently awarded fellowship in the Society for Legal Scholars by the Texas Bar College in recognition of his commitment to continuing education. The Texas Bar College recognizes lawyers who develop their skills and quality of service by completing at least double the required hours of continuing legal education each year.
Gwosdz also plays an important role in economic development, overseeing negotiations with big businesses and job creators that could be persuaded to plant their flags in Victoria.
“Those deals require a lot of creative thinking,” Gwosdz said. “If the City wants something and a company says, ‘I can’t because of X, Y and Z,’ we get to figure out how to bridge those gaps.”
Gwosdz noted that Victoria residents have become more engaged with his work during his time with the City.
“People come up to me in H-E-B and ask very sophisticated questions about City codes and current issues like the animal ordinance—that was a big one,” Gwosdz said. “I try to help them as much as I can. I’m going to miss those interactions.”
Although it’s hard to say goodbye, Gwosdz is looking forward to sharing his talents and his passion for service with government entities across a wider region.
“I’m not leaving public service,” Gwosdz said. “I’m just expanding the scope of the public that I will be able to serve.”