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AGO 1954 No. 362 - December 15, 1954
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington


A member of the Veteran's Rehabilitation Council may sit and function after his term has expired until he is reappointed or a successor is appointed and qualified.

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                                                               December 15, 1954

Honorable E. B. Riley
Veterans' Rehabilitation Council
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 362

Dear Sir:

            Your letter of December 6, 1954, requested an opinion concerning the following question:

            "Can a member whose term has expired continue to sit and function on the Veterans' Rehabilitation Council until he is reappointed or a successor is named and appointed?"

            We answer the question in the affirmative.


            The Veterans' Rehabilitation Council is created pursuant to RCW 43.61.010 and all members are to be appointed by the governor.  The terms of members are fixed at three years expiring on the fifteenth day of January.  There is no statutory provision that members shall hold office until their successors are appointed and qualified.

            RCW 42.04.010 defines a public officer as any person appointed to perform duties prescribed by statute on behalf of the state, we consider members of the  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] Veterans' Rehabilitation Council to be public officers.

            It is the general rule that in the absence of express provision and unless the legislative intent to the contrary is manifest, public officers hold over until their successors are provided.  See 43 Am. Jur. § 162.

            That Washington follows the general rule is made clear by State ex rel. Dudley v. Daggett, 28 Wash. 1, wherein the court said:

            "* * * the rule of law is that an officer shall hold office until his successor is appointed and qualified, unless by statute such holding over is expressly or by clear implication prohibited; * * *"


            "'* * * in the absence of any such provision [for holding over], the incumbent should hold over until another person has been appointed and qualified, and it is intimated that he may reasonably presume that it is his duty to do so; * * *'"

            When an incumbent holds over after the expiration of his term, he is ade facto officer whose acts are valid so far as the public and interested third persons are concerned.  See 71 A.L.R. 848;State v. Britton, 27 Wn. (2d) 336.

            In conclusion, we are of the opinion that a member of the Veterans' Rehabilitation Council may sit and function after his term has expired until he is reappointed or a successor is appointed and qualified.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            We hope the foregoing analysis has been helpful to you.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General

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