Holland returns to Suffolk as city attorney

Published 10:57 pm Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Suffolk native Helivi L. Holland has been appointed as the new city attorney.

She will begin work in the city on March 16, when an investiture ceremony is scheduled. She replaces C. Edward Roettger Jr., who retired in December.

“It was a prime opportunity to come back home,” Holland said on Wednesday. “I’m just really excited about this opportunity.”


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For the past two years, Holland has served as the director of the state Department of Juvenile Justice. There, she oversaw 2,200 state employees, three halfway houses and nine residential programs.

Prior to her state appointment, Holland worked as a deputy city attorney in Suffolk. In that capacity, she represented the Suffolk Department of Social Services in child welfare cases in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. She also supervised all the assistant city attorneys and support staff of the city attorney’s office, wrote and managed the office’s budget, represented the Department of Human Resources, served on the Management Advisory Team of the city and served as the liaison to the courts of the city.

Holland said she is looking forward to moving back home, where she will be closer to her mother and other family, as well as being able to serve her home city.

“I know I bring a new perspective because of my experience here,” she said. “My thoughts about and my reaction to legal matters have changed, and I think it is for the better.”

Holland has plenty of community connections. She is a member of First Baptist Church Mahan Street and a Diamond Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. in the Suffolk Alumnae Chapter. She also has served on the boards of directors at the Children’s Center, Suffolk Education Foundation, Suffolk chapter of the American Red Cross and the Genieve Shelter.

“Suffolk is my home,” Holland said. “All paths have always led back to Suffolk.”

Prior to being in the Suffolk city attorney’s office, Holland was a prosecutor in the Portsmouth and Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s offices, where she prosecuted major juvenile crimes. For 12 years, she also served as an adjunct professor at Paul D. Camp Community College, teaching on two campuses as well as at a Virginia Department of Corrections facility.

She also remains qualified as a guardian ad litem, an attorney who represents a child’s interests in court cases.

Holland’s work as a prosecutor earned her the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice’s Victim Assistance Award and the NOBLE National Lloyd Sealy Award and the Community Services Award for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“We are delighted that Helivi has come home to Suffolk,” Mayor Linda T. Johnson said in a city press release. “Her reputation as a well-respected attorney and her extraordinary accomplishments and service to Virginia’s citizens are to be commended. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have her back in our community where she can continue to make a difference.”