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AGO 1955 No. 152 - October 28, 1955
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington


Members of the newly created Washington-Oregon Boundary Commission are entitled to actual necessary travel and other expenses incurred by them away from their homes on official business of the commission.

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                                                                October 28, 1955

Honorable Dale McMullen
State Senator, 17th District
Central Building
Vancouver, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 152

Dear Sir:

            We have your letter of September 26, 1955, in which you advise that you have been elected Chairman of the new Washington-Oregon Boundary Commission established pursuant to chapter 6, Laws of 1955, Ex. Sess.  You ask our opinion as to the right of the members of the commission to subsistence and travel expenses while away from their homes on business of the commission.

            It is our opinion that members of your commission are entitled to actual necessary travel and other expenses while engaged on commission business away from their homes.


            Chapter 6, Laws of 1955, Ex. Sess., created a state commission composed of five members.  Section 2 of this act provides as follows:

            "Said commission when so directed by the governor shall have the power and it shall be its duty forthwith  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] to make a complete and thorough study of all available data bearing upon the present locations of those portions of the boundary line between the states of Oregon and Washington which bisect the site of each dam or bridge heretofore or hereafter constructed in or over the Columbia River, and for such purpose shall have access to all the files and records of the state and its governmental agencies, and shall have the power and authority to employ such surveyors, engineers and other assistants, and to incur such incidental expenses as it shall deem necessary."  (Emphasis supplied)

            Section 3 of the act made an appropriation of five thousand dollars "for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this act."

            The applicable rule is stated in 67 C.J.S. 329, Officers, § 91, as follows:

            "* * * where the law requires an officer to do that which necessitates an expenditure of money for which no provision is made to supply him with cash in hand, he may make the expenditure out of his own funds and receive reimbursement therefor.  Where a public duty is demanded of an officer without provision for any compensation, the expense must be borne by the public for whose benefit it is done.  * * *"

            Accordingly, in our opinion, the 1955 statute above quoted provides by necessary implication the authority to reimburse the members of your commission for their travel and other necessary expenses while engaged away from their homes on official business of the commission.

            We hope the foregoing analysis supplies you with the information you requested.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General

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