County Attorney
Geri Bonzon-Keenan

County Attorney's Office
111 NW 1st Street, Suite 2810
Miami, Florida 33128

Public Records Custodian
Tomeka Ladson



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Attorney Profile

Jess M. McCarty

Practice Areas

  • Governmental Affairs


  • University of Illinois, 1993, J.D., 1993, Magna Cum Laude
  • Northwestern University, B.A.
    with honors in Urban Planning and
    Political Science, 1988


  • Hon. Norman C. Roettger, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 1993-95
  • Hon. Rosemary Barkett, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, 1995-96

Court Admissions

  • The Florida Bar, 1996
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 1997
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, 1996

Jess M. McCarty

Joined the Office in 1996
Executive Assistant County Attorney

[email protected] 305-375-1634

Jess McCarty is the Executive Assistant County Attorney.  With the County Attorney and First Assistant, Jess is part of the management team for the County Attorney's Office.

Jess supervises the development of County Commission legislation and agendas.  He also works closely with the Chair and Members of the County Commission, the Mayor, County Departments and Assistant County Attorneys to develop, prepare and review ordinances and resolutions for the Board's policy consideration.  

In addition to his supervisory duties in Miami, Jess leads Miami-Dade County's lobbying effort in Tallahassee before the Florida Legislature.  Jess advocates for the County's state legislative priorities and package, which are annually set by the County Commission in coordination with the Chair and Members of the County Commission, the Mayor and the Miami-Dade State Legislative Delegation. 

Such priorities have included securing the passage of both substantive legislation and appropriations, such as:

  • Extending the Miami-Dade Affordable Housing Documentary Stamp Surtax for 20 years, which generates tens of millions of dollars each year for affordable housing in Miami-Dade County;
  • Securing funding for the PortMiami Tunnel project; 
  • Providing a dedicated funding source for the Miami-Dade Children's Courthouse; and
  • Securing funding for Ludlam Trail, the Underline and the Miami Military Museum.

Jess also defends the County from the numerous bills and joint resolutions filed each session that would adversely affect the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter, preempt local ordinances and policies, or have a negative fiscal impact on County taxpayers.  During the annual 60-day session and committee weeks leading up to it, Jess has developed an expertise in quickly identifying issues that impact Miami-Dade County among the thousands of bills, amendments and line-item appropriations considered each year.  Such legislation has included bills that would have adversely impacted the Urban Development Boundary as approved by Miami-Dade County voters, as well as dozens of Miami-Dade County's ordinances, such as those related to local preference in contracting, living wage requirements for county contracts, wage theft, wetlands, regulating for-hire vehicles, Miami International Airport, and PortMiami.

Jess has led the County's Tallahassee lobbying efforts the last 11 years, and has advocated before the Legislature on behalf of the County for more than 24 years.  

Jess also advocated on behalf of the County in Tallahassee before the Florida Constitution Revision Commission in both 1997-1998 and 2017-2018.  The Constitution Revision Commission convenes once every 20 years under the Florida Constitution to propose changes to the state constitution.  

Among his prior work in the County Attorney's Office, Jess served as counsel to a number of county departments.  Among them, he served as counsel for PortMiami for more than a decade, where he provided legal advice on many seaport matters, including cruise and cargo line transactions, and advocated on behalf of PortMiami in federal and state court litigation.  

Jess has earned a preeminent AV peer review rating (5.0 out of 5.0) from Martindale-Hubbell.

Selected Cases & Matters

  • City of Miami v. McGrath, 824 So.2d 143 (Florida Supreme Court, 2002) (invalidating City of Miami Parking surcharge).  

Prior Experience

  • Policy Aide, Illinois Governor James R. Thompson, 1988-1991.

Community Involvement, Awards, & Recognition

  • Member, Florida Association of Counties - Constitution Revision Commission Steering Committee, 2017-2018
  • Member, Florida Association of County Attorney's - Medical Marijuana Task Force, 2017
  • Legal Leaders, Top Rated Lawyer
  • Recipient "Elaine Gordon 'You Made a Difference' Award", Miami-Dade County Days, Tallahassee, 2011
  • Named "Most Effective Lawyer in Lobbying", South Florida Daily Business Review, 2008
  • Recipient "Theresa Lintz Memorial Award" for excellence in local government advocacy, Florida Association for Intergovernmental Relations, a statewide organization made up of advocates for cities, counties and special districts, 2004
  • President, Florida Association for Intergovernmental Relations, 2001-2002
  • University of Illinois Law Review, Notes & Comments Editor
  • Order of the Coif