When the city attorney position in Republic, Missouri, opened up last year, the selection committee did not have to look far to fill the opening. Megan McCullough, a senior attorney at Springfield law firm Foland, Wickens, Roper, Hofer & Crawford PC, had served as the city prosecutor part-time and jumped at the opportunity to represent Republic on a full-time basis.
“Many factors led to my decision to take the city attorney job, but it was just the people here, and the city itself, all the improvements and growth, it was enticing to work for them full time,” said McCullough. “They are all intellectually intelligent people running the city.”
A native of Virginia, McCullough naturally gravitated towards the law early and never considered any other profession. She got her legal feet wet on the east coast before transplanting to southern Missouri in 2016. Stradling both Greene and Christian counties, the city of Republic has a rapidly expanding footprint, and its explosive growth caught McCullough’s attention.
“The growth rate has been 8 or 9 percent in the last couple of years, and 2021 was even bigger than that. When you drive on the streets, you can see it. It’s exponential, not just in Republic, but in Nixa and Ozark, but it’s the way (leaders) ran the city that appealed to me,” said McCullough.
As City Attorney, McCullough provides legal advice to the Mayor and City Council, represents the city as plaintiff and defendant, drafts legal documents including ordinances, resolutions, and contracts, and serves as the prosecutor for municipal ordinance violations.
“Much of what we do here is infrastructure because there is so much going on,” she explained. “Before I came on board, there was an Amazon distribution center, so I oversaw the continuation of that project, but now there are exciting, massive commercial complexes being built soon.”
With all that’s underway in Republic, McCullough says the city’s commitment to transparency sets them apart. “Genuine, honest transparency, being good stewards of taxpayer money, that is one of the things I have found that I see happening in real-time, and you can see where it directly translates into citizen approval,” she said.
A penchant for details, an analytical mind that can see both sides, and a ‘trust-your-gut’ mentality have provided her with the confidence to capably fulfill her duties throughout her 12-year career.
For more than ten years, McCullough has served on the Criminal Justice Act panel in the federal district court and represents indigent people facing federal criminal charges. Serving clients who cannot afford legal representation provides satisfaction and an opportunity to give back. She tells her children that living a life with integrity matters most. “If all else fails you, you can go home resting easy and still be proud of yourself,” she added.