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AGO 1954 No. 294 - August 09, 1954
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

STATE AUDITOR ‑- EXAMINATION OF MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS ‑- ASSOCIATION OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS.

The state auditor has no authority to examine the financial affairs of the state association of county commissioners.

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                                                                  August 9, 1954

Honorable Cliff Yelle
State Auditor
Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                    Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 294

Attention:  !ttMr. A. E. Hankins, Chief Examiner,  Division of Municipal Corporations

Dear Sir:

            In a recently acknowledged letter you requested that this office reconsider an opinion to the State Auditor dated May 11, 1942, wherein it was decided that the Auditor was neither required by law, nor had the authority, to examine the financial affairs of the Washington State Association of County Commissioners, especially in the light of an opinion to the Honorable Cliff Yelle dated July 28, 1947, and an opinion to Mr. Elmer Stanley, dated May 23, 1952.  Specifically the questions you ask are:

            "(1) Does the State Auditor's office, through the Division of Municipal Corporations, have authority to examine into the financial affairs of the Washington

            "(2) If the answer to the first question is in the affirmative, is the Washington State Association of County Commissioners liable for the payment of the cost of examination?"

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            We believe the opinion formerly issued is correct, and therefore answer both of your questions in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The opinion referred to by you ([[State]]Auditor, May 11, 1942) decided that the Washington State Association of County Commissioners was not a creature, agency or department of the state and so not subject to examination by you.

            The only change in the statutes authorizing county participation in the Association occurred in Laws of 1947, chapter 49.  This provided only that the maximum contribution by a county to the Association should be 1/50 mill of property valuation, rather than 1/100 mill.  We do not see how the statute could in any way affect our former opinion.

            The opinion of July 28, 1947, to the State Auditor decided that the State School Directors Association was subject to audit by your office.  That opinion clearly distinguished between the two associations, and showed why the School Directors Association was subject to examination, and the County Commissioners Association was not.

            The opinion of May 23, 1952, to Elmer W. Stanley held that the School Directors Association was liable for the expense of audit by your department.  This we believe to be correct, but it has no relation to the other opinion in question.

            We find no statutory changes since the issuance of the opinion of May 11, 1942, which would change the conclusion.  We believe that opinion is correct, and we adhere to the conclusion as expressed therein for the same reasons.  In our opinion, the State Auditor does not have legal authority to examine the financial affairs of the Washington State Association of County Commissioners.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General

KEITH S. BERGMAN
Assistant Attorney General

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