Our Practice Areas

Mergers and Consolidations

Mergers and Consolidations require a skilled attorney who understands not only their legal implications, but their political implications as well. Although Mergers and Consolidations has been a hot topic at many conferences in recent years, Mr. Quinn has actually been very active in consolidation and merger work since 1990.

He was personally very involved and remains involved in the following agencies formed as a result of such alliances: Central Pierce Fire & Rescue, East Pierce Fire & Rescue, West Pierce Fire & Rescue, Valley Regional Fire Authority, Riverside Fire Authority (Centralia area), West Thurston Regional Fire Authority, South King Fire & Rescue, and the list goes on and on.

He has also consulted with or advised planning groups, cities or towns and fire districts on such matters without being their attorney, such as Friday Harbor and San Juan Fire District No. 3, Bremerton and two Kitsap County fire districts, and many others. He has vigorously sought, throughout his entire career, to facilitate meaningful and lasting relationships between municipal entities.

Open Public Meetings

The Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) requires that all meetings of a governing body of an agency be open to the public, with limited exceptions. For years, Mr. Quinn has navigated these exceptions, and understands how your agency may fully comply with the OPMA. He has more than thirty years’ experience with such issues and deals with them every week in his practice. Now he often teaches classes on this law to fire commissioners, fire chiefs and their employees and/or volunteers to ensure compliance with state laws and regulations on retention of records.

Public Records Act

The Washington Public Records Act (PRA) is another “sunshine law” mandating government transparency. Much like the OPMA, this law is construed broadly and its exemptions are construed narrowly. This growing area of law requires that your staff be well trained on the intricacies of the PRA, but when counsel is needed, we are there for you quickly and with detailed advice. We deal with PRA issues in this office, practically on a daily basis, so we know when to claim an exemption and when not to bother. We have conducted trainings on this law as well.

HIPAA Compliance/Medical Records

Washington and federal law are both very protective of the medical information of individual persons. Quite often, Mr. Quinn addresses the intricacies of these laws, to avoid the consequences of disclosing protected health information without proper authority. He is very conversant with these laws; sometimes we receive requests for advice on medical records issues many times in one week! He has developed numerous forms and policies to deal with HIPAA and the state's Health Care Information Act, so he often teaches classes on these laws.

Personnel/Labor Matters

We work in a fire station, and keep our doors open. Labor questions arise all the time, and fall under various different laws: Worker’s compensation, disability leave, employment discrimination (ADA/WLAD), workplace safety (WISHA/OSHA), harassment, policies and procedures, collective bargaining, employment contracts, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Family Medical Leave Act. The list goes on. Mr. Quinn's forty or more fire service clients probably employ approximately 2,000 employees and volunteers, so it is no wonder that personnel issues abound. This requires knowledge of numerous federal and state statutory schemes and some of them are complex. On any given week, 50% of the issues we address relate to personnel and labor.

Labor Negotiation and Arbitration

We are also available to assist in labor negotiations at the bargaining table or behind the scenes, and have done so on various occasions. If there is a contract grievance filed, and arbitration is needed, we are willing to represent the employer throughout the arbitration proceedings. If negotiations reach impasse and no labor contract can be reached through bargaining, remember that firefighter and police bargaining units are entitled to go to "interest arbitration" in which a three-member panel arbitrates the parties' differences and "makes the contract" for the parties. As a past PERC Commissioner, Mr. Quinn is very familiar with the attitude and interests of neutral arbitrators, and what they are looking for in an interest arbitration proceeding.

Contract Review and Drafting

More often than not, legal issues are resolved by recognizing the needs of those who have contrary interests to a client. Mr. Quinn has crafted and reviewed various mutual aid agreements and fire protection contracts, which were favorable to all parties involved, but most importantly, to his clients and the public they serve.

Financial Management

Property taxes and other financial issues can be baffling to elected officials and fire chiefs, but after more than thirty years in "this business" of local government, Mr. Quinn has considerable expertise with regard to property taxes, fire benefit charges, interlocal agreements, and just contracts in general. Whether it is public works or purchasing apparatus, we are familiar with all of the laws, exceptions and rules regarding procurement. We have also led our clients through proposing maintenance and operations levies, EMS levies, and bond issues. Additionally, we keep our clients informed about numerous methods of financing, including, but not limited to, the utilization of SEPA mitigation, service fees, benefit charges, and impact fees.

Other

In addition to all of the fire service work, we occasionally still practice in the area of land use and zoning. Even fire districts and RFA's occasionally need to get a permit to conduct certain activities on the land, such as a conditional use permit for a new fire station. Last, Mr. Quinn has drafted or reviewed scores of cellular site leases for various owners of property who hire him to deal with the major national and international companies who lease space on cell towers, water tanks, and sometimes fire and/or police emergency communications facilities.

The offices of
the Firehouse Lawyer
are located at:

Gig Harbor Fire and Medic One
10222 Bujacich Road NW
Gig HarborWA  98332

The information, materials and references on this web site are for informational purposes only and are not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should consult an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Should you wish to retain the firm's services, please contact us at 253-858-3226. Use of this website or any of the links contained herein does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor can the firm be responsible for the content of any outside website. Any information provided herein is not intended in any way to waive attorney-client privilege or attorney work product.