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AGO 1952 No. 302 - May 12, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

MERIT SYSTEM ‑- STATE EMPLOYEES ‑- EFFECTIVE DATE ‑- DIVISION OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES

Personnel working in the various institutions under the Division of Children and Youth Services have one year in which to meet the requirements of their respective positions after those requirements are established by the state personnel board.

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                                                                   May 12, 1952

Honorable Van R. Hinkle
Supervisor
Division of Children and Youth Services
Department of Public Institutions
Public Lands-Social Security Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 302

Dear Sir:

            You have requested an opinion whether personnel employed by the six state institutions under the Division of Children and Youth Services have, pursuant to section 5, chapter 234, Laws of 1951, one year after the establishment of standards for their respective positions in which to meet the requirements of those standards.

            The conclusion reached is that said employees have one year after the establishment of those standards in which to meet the requirements established.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            RCW 43.19.290 states:

            The last clause of this section beginning with the word "which" appears to refer only to the words "their permanent status" of the preceding clause.  While the section is not clearly phrased, it would appear from a careful  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] reading that the permanent status of the personnel is to be determined by the supervisor and the determination as to that status depends also upon the ability of each employee within one year to meet the requirements for his respective position.  The one year, at the end of which the employees must have met the requirements, would appear not to have been intended by the legislature to commence running until the standards were established and made known.  The word "met" connotes some action directed toward a goal.  Thus, the employees are to "meet" requirements according to set standards.  It would seem those requirements must first be established and then the time allotted in which the requirements must be met would begin to run.

            On a prior occasion when the legislature provided for a similar merit system within the Department of Highways, it stated in effect that within one year of the effective date of the act the director would establish a personnel merit system, and that sixty days after the promulgation of rules under that system those rules would become effective.  Had the legislature intended that the employees of the state institutions under the Division of Children and Youth Services should meet the standards to be established within a year of the effective date of the legislation or of any other event, it could have plainly stated this to be its intent, as it did when establishing the merit system within the Highway Commission.  That the legislature made no reference to the time of the effective date of the act or establishment of the merit program within the Division of Children and Youth Services, indicates that the construction of the statute, as set out above, conforms to the legislative intent.

            It appears that the personnel in question has one year in which to meet the requirements of their respective positions after those requirements are established by the state personnel board.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

JUNE FOWLES
Assistant Attorney General

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