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AGO 1954 No. 230 - March 26, 1954
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

MUNICIPAL CONSOLIDATION ‑- EFFECTIVE DATE ‑- NECESSITY FOR OFFICERS BETWEEN CONSOLIDATION ELECTION AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS ‑- EFFECT ON APPOINTIVE OFFICERS OF OLD TOWNS.

1. Consolidation of towns under RCW 35.10 is effective when result of election of officers for new town is entered in journals of old towns.

2. No officers are required for the new town in the interim between the consolidation and officer elections; the only functions being those involving the elections, as detailed in chapter 35.10 RCW.

3. Appointive officers of the old towns continue to serve as such until the consolidation is effective.

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                                                                  March 26, 1954

Honorable Phillip Sheridan
Prosecuting Attorney
Snohomish CountyCourt House
Everett, Washington                                                                                                  Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 230

Attention:  !ttMr. C. P. Brownlee,  Acting Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Sir:

            We have your letter of March 22, 1954, requesting, for the convenience of the City Attorney of Stanwood, the opinion of this office upon questions concerning the potential effect of the contemplated consolidation of Stanwood and East Stanwood under chapter 35.10 RCW.  The inquiries may be paraphrased as follows:

            1.  If the electorate in both towns approves consolidation, when will it actually take effect?

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            2.  If a hiatus exists between electoral approval and actual consolidation, will officers be required for the new town in the interim?

            3.  What will be the status of appointive officers of the old towns during that interim period?

            Our conclusions may be expressed in this way:

            1.  The consolidation will be effective when the result of the election of officers for the new city is entered in the journals of the former towns.

            2.  No.

            3.  Appointive officers will continue to serve their respective towns until consolidation is effective.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            1. The sequence of events is set out in §§ 5, 6 and 7, chapter 64, Laws of 1929; and, although somewhat revised, also appears in RCW 36.10.070, 35.10.080 and 35.10.090.  After the votes on the consolidation proposition have been canvassed, a certified abstract is made, filed with the council of each town involved, and recorded in its minutes.  Section 5, chapter 64, Laws of 1929; RCW 35.10.070.

            The next step is the election of officers under RCW 35.10.080 (cf. § 6, chapter 64, Laws of 1929):

            "If the next regular general election of officers in cities of the class and form of government to which the newly consolidated city belongs will be held within one year and not less than two months from the date of the consolidation election, the officers of the new city shall be elected at the next general election; if not, immediately after the filing of the abstract of the vote of the consolidation election with the secretary by its clerk, the council of that corporation involved in the consolidation which had the largest  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] population as shown by the last federal census shall call a special election to be held within six months thereafter by the new city for the election of officers.

            "Such election shall be conducted in the manner provided by law for cities in the class and form of government to which it belongs.  Certified copies of the result shall be procured and filed by the council of each of the cities and towns involved and entered upon its journal."  (Emphasis supplied)

            The regular general election date is the second Tuesday in March.  RCW 29.13.030.  We presume that the consolidation election will be held after that date in 1954 and before the second Tuesday in January 1955.  The election of officers in that case should be held on the second Tuesday in March 1955.

            The final step in consolidation is the entry of certified copies of the election result in the journals of the cities or towns involved.  Section 7, chapter 64, Laws of 1929 (Cf. RCW 35.10.090), provides:

            "From and after the date of such entry such corporations shall be deemed to be consolidated into one corporation under the name and style of 'The City, (or town, as the case may be) of        (naming it), with the powers conferred, or that may hereafter be conferred, by law, upon municipal corporations of the class to which the same shall belong * * *" (Emphasis supplied)

            2. From what has been said in answer to your first inquiry, it is apparent that the consolidated town does not actually exist, and has no officers, between electoral approval of the consolidation and the later election of officers for the new town.  The only functions performed in that interim are those concerning the elections, as specifically detailed in the cited sections of RCW.

            3. The old towns continue independently until consolidation is effective.  During the interim period, appointive officers of such towns continue to serve as before.  Thereafter, appointive offices of the new town are to be filled by the  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] appropriate authority therein.

            We hope the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General

A. J. HUTTON, JR.
Assistant Attorney General

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