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Our Authors

MRSC Insight articles are written by the staff of the Municipal Research and Services Center, representing a broad range of talents and interests. Learn more about our authors:

Tracy Burrows, Executive Director
As MRSC’s Executive Director, Tracy seeks out innovations in local government, tracking trends in management and technology that impact your work. She has over 20 years of local government and non-profit experience, specializing in growth management, transportation, and general city management issues. View all posts by Tracy.

Steve Butler, FAICP, Planning and Policy Manager
Steve joined MRSC in February 2015.  He has been involved in most aspects of community planning for over 30 years, both in the public and private sectors.  Steve has served as president of statewide planning associations in both Washington and Maine, and was elected to the American Institute of Certified Planner’s College of Fellows in 2008. View all posts by Steve.

John Carpita, P.E., Public Works Consultant
John is MRSC’s resource for engineering design, purchasing and bidding issues, contract document preparation, construction contract issues, local improvement districts, sewer, water, storm drainage and solid waste issues, as well as resource conservation. He’s a registered professional engineer and has had a widely varied 42-year career as a consultant, county engineer, city engineer and project manager. View all posts by John.

Flannary Collins, Legal Consultant
Flannary joined MRSC as a legal consultant in August 2013 after working for ten years as the assistant city attorney for the city of Shoreline. At Shoreline, Flannary advised all city departments on a wide range of issues including public records, land use, code enforcement, public works bidding, and construction claims. View all posts by Flannary.

Jim Doherty, Legal Consultant
Jim has over 20 years of experience researching and responding to varied legal questions at MRSC. He is the lead attorney consultant and has special expertise in transmission pipeline planning issues, as well as the issues surrounding medical and recreational marijuana. View all posts by Jim.

Jill Dvorkin, Legal Consultant
Jill joined MRSC as a legal consultant in June 2016 after working for nine years as a civil deputy prosecuting attorney for Skagit County. At Skagit County, Jill advised the planning department on a wide variety of issues including permit processing and appeals, Growth Management Act (GMA) compliance, code enforcement, SEPA, legislative process, and public records. Jill was born and raised in Fargo, ND, then moved to Bellingham to attend college and experience a new part of the country (and mountains!). She earned a B.A. in Environmental Policy and Planning from Western Washington University and graduated with a J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law in 2003. View all posts by Jill.

Steve Hawley, Web Writer and Research Analyst
Steve joined MRSC in July 2014, completing a long journey back home to his native Seattle. He brings a broad public policy background, including experience in regional water management, land use, and transportation planning. View all posts by Steve.

Byron Katsuyama, Public Policy and Management Consultant
Byron has over 30 years of experience in local government policy and administration research including such areas as forms of government, strategic planning, performance measurement, and general local government management. In addition to his consulting duties, Byron also maintains the “In Focus” section of MRSC’s Web site and is editor of our “In Focus,” and “Ask MRSC” e-newsletters. He also coordinates our HR, Planning, Finance, Council/Commission and Open Government Advisor columns. In his own community of Kirkland, Byron has served as a member of the city’s planning commission. View all posts by Byron.

Toni Nelson, Finance Consultant
Toni began working for MRSC in May 2014. Her background in governmental accounting is extensive with over twenty-four years in the public sector. She was with the Washington State Auditor’s Office for 11 years and 9 years as the Clerk/Treasurer for the Town of Twisp. She established a focus for “Cash Basis” accounting and reporting while with the State Auditor’s Office that carried into educational classes and on-site training. She authored the Small Cities Manual, monthly articles for the Finance Advisor column for MRSC and is a speaker for state organizations such as AWC, WFOA, WMCA, and WMTA on topics pertaining to budgeting, cash basis accounting and reporting and the application of Washington State B.A.R.S. requirements. View all posts by Toni.

Lynn Karl Nordby, Public Policy and Management Consultant
Lynn’s public sector career includes 30 years in local government management and experience in virtually all municipal services including the operations of a wide variety of municipal utilities. He is a Credentialed Manager through the ICMA Voluntary Credentialing program. View all posts by Lynn.

Oskar Rey, Legal Consultant
Oskar Rey has practiced municipal law since 1995 and served as Assistant City Attorney for the City of Kirkland from 2005 to 2016, where he worked on a wide range of municipal topics, including land use, public records, and public works. Oskar is a life-long resident of Washington and graduated from the University of Washington School of Law in 1992. View all posts by Oskar.

Robert Sepler, Legal Consultant
Robert interned with MRSC for a year before joining the legal team as a legal consultant in August 2015. He has worked with several local governments as a legal intern, including the Port Townsend City Attorney’s Office as well as the Land Use Section of the Seattle City Attorney’s Office. A Washington native, he earned both a B.A. and a B.S degree from the University of Washington and graduated magna cum laude from the Seattle University School of Law, where he was the Managing Editor of the Seattle University Law Review. View all posts by Robert.

Paul Sullivan, Legal Consultant
Paul has worked with local governments since 1974 and has authored MRSC publications on local elections, ordinances, and general local government operation. He also provides training on the Open Public Meetings Act. View all posts by Paul.


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