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Legal Consultant Paul Sullivan Retires

Legal Consultant Paul Sullivan Retires

Many things have changed since my first day at MRSC in 1983. For one, I’m a lot older. That’s for sure, but, of course, there have been other changes as well. Letters have almost vanished and are now replaced by emails. No more typewriters. Computers now allow us to quickly access information, review court decisions, read statutes and articles, and respond to questions quickly and efficiently. Time and technology have moved on and now, after more than 30 years, it is my time to do so as well. Monday mornings will not be the same. 

While some things have changed, not everything has. The local officials and employees we serve still ask excellent questions. Some inquirers already have a good idea of what the answer is; they just want to confirm their understanding or determine whether the law has changed. New laws, regulations, opinions and court decision constantly alter the legal landscape. What was true yesterday simply may no longer be true today. And the law is not always that easy to understand, even if it hasn’t changed. A statute can be confusing or may seem to be inconsistent with other statutes. With all this, there are still many questions to be answered and, likely, there will always be. MRSC has answers. Responding to your questions is an important part of MRSC’s service and has been a very important and enjoyable part of my job.

Even though I’ve been at MRSC for a long time and have learned a lot during that time, many of my responses to questions have been aided by the substantial assistance I’ve received from my MRSC colleagues. The other MRSC consultants — past and present, policy and legal — have been so helpful in giving me direction, assistance, and answers. I especially want to recognize and thank some of the now-retired legal consultants: Pat Mason, Pam James, Bob Meinig, and Jim Doherty. They taught me so much and gave me kindness and support throughout my years at MRSC. The policy consultants, the support staff, the entire MRSC staff, they all deserve my thanks as well; their work has helped make MRSC a great place to work and me be a better attorney.

Some talented employees have retired, taken other jobs, and, sadly, have died while I’ve worked at MRSC. Their departures, though, have not diminished MRSC’s ability to assist local governments. The “new” legal consultants — Flannary Collins, Jill Dvorkin, Oskar Rey, Linda Gallagher, and Sarah Doar — are smart, hard-working, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and helpful. They and our policy consultants will continue to make sure your questions will be answered, and new, helpful programs will be developed to assist local governments for years to come.

Thank you to those I have had a chance to know through letters, faxes, phone calls, emails, and occasional visits. I’ve enjoyed working with you. You’ve made my job and my days interesting. I appreciate the hours you spend and hard work you give to make your communities better places to live.

Before now, I have never really thought about retiring. It has become clear to me, though, that for many reasons, it’s time.  I think I still have a few good years left; I hope I do. I hope to use them well. I may volunteer at a local school. Maybe I will take a class or two. I might even tackle some of the tasks my wife would like me to do. Clean the garage and crawl space? Donate or throw stuff away? Well, we’ll see.

Last, but definitely not least, special thanks to my wonderful and patient wife Pat and to our children Jeremy, Catherine, Sophie, and Phoebe, who all have always been there for me, have encouraged me, suffered through my whining, and have given me so much joy. I could not have made it this far without them. It’s been a good journey.

Thank you! And good bye.

Editors note: Anyone interested in sending best wishes to Paul can contact him directly at

MRSC is a private nonprofit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible government agencies in Washington State may use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, policy, or financial questions.

Photo of Paul Sullivan

About Paul Sullivan

Paul worked with many local governments and authored numerous MRSC publications on local elections, ordinances, and general local government operations in his many years at MRSC. He is now retired.