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AGO 1952 No. 365 - August 05, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

TENURE OF ELECTIVE COUNTY OFFICERS AFTER ADOPTION OF NEW CHARTER

Terms of office for elective county officials terminate if office is abolished by new charter.

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                                                                  August 5, 1952

Mr. R. C. Watts
Executive Secretary
Washington State Association
of County Commissioners
111 East State Avenue
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 365

Dear Sir:

            On July 28, 1952, you requested the opinion of this office in regard to the following question:

            "Does a county official elected for a term which still has time to run at the effective date of a new charter have a continuing interest in the office to which he was elected for the remainder of the term for which he was elected, or is that title extinguished in whole or in part by the adoption of the charter?"

            Our conclusion may be summarized as follows:

            The terms of all elective officers, except the prosecuting attorney, county superintendent of schools, judges of the superior court and justices of the peace, who are in office at the time of the adoption of the charter shall terminate as provided by the charter.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The provision for "Home Rule" charters for counties is found in the 21st Amendment of the Washington State Constitution, which amends Article XI, section 4.  This Amendment provides in part as follows:

            "The terms of all elective officers, except the prosecuting attorney, the county superintendent of schools, the judges of the superior court, and the justices of the peace, who are in office at the time of the adoption of a Home Rule Charter shall terminate as provided in the charter.  * * *"

            It is the opinion of this office that the part of the 21st Amendment quoted above specifically answers your question.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

ELLIS L. COLLINS
Assistant Attorney General

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