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Longtime Legal Staff Jim Doherty Retires from MRSC after 25 Years

July 11, 2018 by Jim Doherty

Longtime Legal Staff Jim Doherty Retires from MRSC after 25 Years

Lynn Nordby posted a goodbye blog earlier this week about his retirement on July 13 —  and I’m doing the same — closing out my MRSC email and cleaning up my files after 25 wonderful years at MRSC.

Helping staff and elected officials at local government agencies across the state has been a challenging and rewarding task. Some issues suddenly rise to importance, such as pipeline safety and franchising after the Bellingham pipeline tragedy in 1999, or the frantic expansion of fiber optic lines in rights-of-way and wireless antenna towers in neighborhoods after passage of the federal telecommunications act in 1996. More recently,  local governments have been beset by the rise of homelessness and affordable housing issues. It is impossible to predict the next focus of attention — and that is what has kept the work so fascinating.

When I started as a Legal Consultant at MRSC in 1993, we often mailed letters to local government staff and officials on “letterhead.” That shifted to fax transmissions when information was needed quickly. Then, in the latter half of the 1990s, the internet overturned how everyone functioned in an office setting. We suddenly had the option of emailing local government elected officials and staff. We were able to transmit documents and post sample ordinances on our website instead of mailing out printed collations “on loan.” Vast amounts of information became available in digital form, including court decisions, city codes, and county codes — but agency staff still needed assistance with locating and evaluating that mountain of information.

For decades MRSC provided services only to cities and towns. Then, in the late 1990s, counties joined as customers, and since that time MRSC has expanded to serve a growing number of special purpose districts as well. MRSC has been doing nothing but morphing over the past 25 years and the pace of change continues. Having to constantly develop new communication skills and subject-area expertise has kept all of us at MRSC on our toes — and we wouldn’t have it any other way: We reflect the changes that are going on in our communities.

I have appreciated working in a setting where our clients frequently say “thanks.” Attorneys spend much of their time dealing with conflicting interests, and it can be stressful. While working at MRSC I have sometimes been able to steer jurisdictions away from conflict or at least helped them manage the conflict in an effective way.

Thanks to all of you for sending in those tough questions. Finding the answers has kept me learning — and nothing makes a job more enjoyable than that. 

About Jim Doherty

Jim has over 24 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.



"Jim: I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you over the past decades and bouncing ideas off your perspective. Unfortunately, it looks like I will not actually meet you and shake your hand. I wish you the very best in your retirement -- you deserve it!"

Allan Galbraith on Jul 14, 2018 2:20 PM

"Jim, enjoy your well-deserved retirement. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, wisdom, and insights with me so many times over the many years. You will be truly missed. I wish you all the best."

Greg Schrag on Jul 13, 2018 2:39 PM

"Jim, you will be greatly missed. I wish you well in the next stage of your life. Thank you for providing such outstanding service to public agencies over the years."

Rick Hughes on Jul 13, 2018 8:10 AM

"Get out on your boat and explore! Call me when you get down to the "Couve. Bronson"

Bronson Potter on Jul 12, 2018 3:30 PM

"Jim, thank you so much for your assistance over the years. I wish you well in your retirement."

Jim Restucci on Jul 12, 2018 1:20 PM

"Happy retirement, Jim. I always appreciated your careful analysis and thoughtful insights."

Scott Thomas on Jul 12, 2018 12:39 PM

"Thank you Jim for your many years of dedicated service to local government. MRSC is truly a unique institution and an invaluable resource."

ted gathe on Jul 12, 2018 12:14 PM

"Thank you, Jim, for your assistance to Washington counties and municipalities over the past 24 years. We wish you well in your retirement. May each day bring fair winds and following seas!"

Sheilah Crider on Jul 12, 2018 12:11 PM

"Jim: Thank you for all the years you have given to helping municipalities weather the waves of legislative action (and inaction), the challenging winds of social change (weed) and the heat of holding a municipal office. I hope that you do not encounter any storms on Green Lake with your paddle board. Thanks for the good advice you always gave to me. Art Blauvelt, Port of Grays Harbor"

Art Blauvelt on Jul 12, 2018 11:59 AM

"Jim, it has been a pleasure working with you over the years on everything from the pipeline safety workshops to the changes in telecommunications laws. We have seen and done a lot together, and I will miss you!"

Victoria Lincoln on Jul 12, 2018 11:52 AM

"Thanks for all your help over the years on pipeline safety issues, as well as other issues during my time on the Whatcom County Council. Enjoy retirement, and I will be watching for you on your SUP in Whatcom and Skagit waters."

Carl Weimer on Jul 12, 2018 9:52 AM

"Thank you Jim, for your excellent service to Washington communities! Your insights will be missed, but your retirement is well-deserved."

Corbitt Loch on Jul 11, 2018 12:08 PM

12 comments on Longtime Legal Staff Jim Doherty Retires from MRSC after 25 Years


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