In resignation letter, prosecuting attorney firm cites ‘lack of communication’ with mayor

Mayor Mike Nelson delivering his 2023 Budget Address.

A letter sent to Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson from the city’s longtime contract prosecuting attorney pointed to “a lack of communication between the executive and his contracted staff” as a primary reason that the firm cut short what was supposed to be a two-year contract with the city.

Principals in the law firm Zachor, Stock & Krepps (ZSK) noted in their resignation letter, dated March 10, that the firm and its predecessor — Zachor & Thomas — “has dutifully served the citizens of Edmonds for almost 20 years.” However, the attorneys said they were taken aback by Mayor Nelson’s 2023 budget message — delivered in October 2022 — when he called for creating an in-house prosecuting attorney. Nelson’s statement was made “under the pretense of a need to prosecute crimes in a fair and equitable manner thus saving taxpayer dollars,” the attorneys wrote. In its letter to the mayor, the firm’s principals noted that Zachor, Stock & Krepps — in its 2021 response to a city request for proposals for a contract prosecuting attorney —  “clearly articulated a focus on restorative justice practices when appropriate.

“Those practices focus on treatment and education as a way to reduce recidivism rather that the traditional approach focusing on jail as a primary deterrent of criminal conduct,” the letter continued. “We are not motivated by trial and argument for the sake of argument. We are motivated by serving the citizens of Edmonds. We always strive to do right by the citizens, victims of crime, and those accused.”

“To say we were surprised by this (the letter) is an understatement, but it is a clear example of a lack of communication between the executive and his contracted staff,” the letter said.

The letter also criticized the City of Edmonds’ failure “to fill the vital position of the Domestic Violence Coordinator. This void has drastically increased our workload. and is a significant deviation from the current contracted scope of work,” the letter said. “The necessity and value of the DV Coordinator position was openly acknowledged by the council at the last State of the Prosecutor address, yet that position remains vacant since December 31, 2021.”

The firm gave 120 days’ notice, as required in the contract. Zachor, Stock & Krepps’ final day working for Edmonds is July 8.

.”It is with great sadness that it has come to this,” the letter concluded. “We wish the best of luck to the City of Edmonds in future and in meeting its goals for criminal justice, whatever they may be.”

The letter was posted on the city’s public records request portal after the Herald newspaper requested a copy. You can also read the full letter here.

The Edmonds City Council is scheduled at its June 20 meeting to approve a contract with a replacement attorney — Walls Law Firm. Walls was the only candidate that submitted a proposal for the contract work, but the firm is highly recommended and its selection was supported by both the Edmonds Municipal Court and police, City Attorney Sharon Cates told the council’s Public Safety-Planning-Human Services-Personnel Committee on June 13.

In a statement provided to My Edmonds News Friday, City of Edmonds spokesperson Kelsey Foster said that the city has been working for several years to manage and lower costs for prosecutorial services, adding “it is every administration’s duty to provide oversight on all city contracts and to periodically assess what is working best for the city.” Zachor, Stock & Krepps was the only firm that applied during the city’s latest request for proposals, leaving Edmonds “with minimal negotiating leverage,” Foster said. “After particularly challenging negotiations, which focused on cost, a new contract with Zachor was signed to run from January 2022 through the end of 2023.”

The city’s human resources department in 2022 analyzed the costs of bringing prosecutorial services in-house, “but determined it would be cost prohibitive,” Foster added.

The statement also included this from Mayor Nelson: “Part of my job is to save taxpayer money. We look at our city contracts all the time. We wish Zachor law firm all the best in their future endeavors.”

— By Teresa Wippel



  1. Ordinance 4729 effective December 1, 2022 states that the city council may, from time to time, with or without cause, on such basis as a majority of the Edmonds city council shall determine, undertake a request for proposal process for city attorney and/or city prosecutor services.

    Instead, in April, City staff advertised a Request for Proposals for Prosecuting Attorney Services, with proposals due on May 26, 2023.

    Unless City Council voted to have City Staff help them with this RFP process and the Mayor approved, I believe this process will have to start over. I imagine Council must decide the basis for the RFP and have the Executive Assistant to the Council administrate the RFP process.

    City Staff does not work for City Council so why would they play a role in this? This is City Council’s responsibility. Ordinance 4729 is very new and easy to find.

  2. Incredibly sad news to read. Unfilled positions seem to be the norm as of late with the City of Edmonds along with all the recent resignations of some excellent individuals to move away from Edmonds. Cleaning house for some reason? It is unfortunate that those citizens needing Domestic Violence assistance are not and have not received those services from the experts in the field. Most other cities seem to think this is a priority at a time when society is so openly violent and aggressive. Saving money? A valued and needed position has remained vacant for well over a year……sounds like a savings to me. Thank you to the Zachor firm for all the dedicated and excellent prosecution service that have provided to all the citizens and the Edmonds Police Department. I guess we can hope for the best as a competent and qualified firm is up and running in a few weeks.

    1. Does Mayor Nelson have his “own party”? I have voted Dem most of my life. I do not support Mike Nelson. I voted for him too. I want a truly nonpartisan Mayor. It’s that simple. We are a mixed community. We don’t need a Mayor who clearly only supports his own ideals. I support Diversity, Inclusion of all, Equity and Accessibility. Nelson doesn’t if ya think about it you will see this and you will not vote for Mike Nelson. Diane and Mike Rosen are the best choices for a United Edmonds. In my humble opinion.

  3. There are only two ways to reduce costs of prosecution. 1) cheaper attorney
    2) prosecute fewer cases

  4. Political parties interfering in non-partisan local political races (mainly city and school districts) is a tactic that was started years ago by the Ultra Conservative branch of the Republican party as a means to try to control the narrative and thinking at the grass roots level of government to help shape national social policy. In WA. state politics the Left has made use of the same tactic to try to push the narrative and social policy over to the most Liberal side of the ledger. This has been a bad and destructive process from both sides nationally and locally. Also be aware that the Sno. Co. Democratic Party is again pushing certain candidates for the Edmonds City Council to influence city policy. Unfortunately it is not illegal for political parties to interfere in non-partisan elections; so our only defense is good information and awareness. Swing (Independent) voters choose our Presidents and they should also choose our city leaders for everyone to have a real voice and some degree of representation of their views. One party total control is bad news, regardless of which party is doing it.

  5. Any use of the term “restorative justice” should be a warning signal to Edmonds citizens. It is what is practiced in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Portland, etc.

    It is a judicial cop-out for no justice at all and puts citizens at severe risk..the woke restorative justice does not work. It is a virtue signal for unbridled crime, drugs and homeless…here’ hoping that the liberal progressive sheep don’t get caught up in this Siren Song and implement it locally.

  6. Surely a “virtue signal for unbridled crime” is a contradiction in terms? Crime not being usually regarded as a virtue… At any rate, the term “virtue signaling” is a cop-out: it poisons the well of debate before debate begins, by dismissing a whole range of views as empty. Though perhaps using the term is in itself a virtue signal that says “I know, you don’t”?

    It would be interesting to know just who the “liberal progressive sheep” are. Is that all liberals, or perhaps anyone with a progressive idea? And what about the many progressive/liberals among us who don’t support the agenda so darkly hinted at? In my experience such people make up the majority of liberals, i.e.: those with the view that things can be done better and more fairly.

    Broad-brush painting of everyone else is generally both intellectually suspect and unhelpful. Listening to other citizens, whose life experience has legitimately brought them to their views, is often the best way forward. To do otherwise is, like calling “virtue signaling,” just a way to delegitimize and ignore others. Polarization is never helpful.

  7. It’s always much easier to label people ideologically, call them demeaning names, and ridicule their ideas than it is to come up with good ideas yourself that actually might solve some real problems and be a win-win for everyone. If you tell the truth of our history you are “woke,” whatever that means. If you insist that people take responsibility for their own actions regardless of whatever circumstances they have come from, you are “mean spirited, lacking compassion and empathy.” We’ve become a nation of phony victims and super suckers. This is everything from multi billionaire politicians asking for and getting donations to run for office to drug addicts standing on street corners begging for “food” money which total suckers happily give them no questions asked. Everyone has a “right” to own and carry a firearm, but no one, other than the police, are required to have any real knowledge and training in the use of a firearm. Sadly, stupidity seems to be hereditary and contagious.

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