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AGO 1951 No. 133 - September 25, 1951
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

SCHOOLS ‑- COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT ‑- AUDIO VISUAL PROGRAM EXPENSES ‑- COUNTY EMPLOYEES OF

1. The county superintendent's expenses incidental to carrying out the audio visual program, if within the superintendent's budget, should be approved by the county auditor.

2. The county may furnish a car for the use of the director of the audio visual program.

3. Where county funds are used to pay for the services of a person, such a person would be a county employee for most purposes, whether the person was engaged by the superintendent of schools, county treasurer, or county clerk, but a person paid from school district funds, though engaged by a county official, would not, in the normal sense, be considered a county employee.

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                                                              September 25, 1951

Honorable John Panesko
Prosecuting Attorney
Lewis County
Chehalis, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 133

Attention:  Mr. J. D. Searle, Deputy

Dear Sir:

            This is to acknowledge your letters of September 19 and 20, 1951, relative to the audio visual program inaugurated by the Lewis County Schools.

            Our conclusions may be stated as follows:

            (1) The county superintendent's expenses incidental to carrying out the audio visual program, if within the superintendent's budget, should be approved by the county auditor.

            (2) The county may furnish a car for the use of the director of the audio visual program.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            (3) Where county funds are used to pay for the services of a person, such a person would be a county employee for most purposes, whether the person was engaged by the superintendent of schools, county treasurer, or county clerk, but a person paid from school district funds, though engaged by a county official, would not, in the normal sense, be considered a county employee.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            In an opinion to the Division of Municipal Corporations, dated December 23, 1947, we concluded that the county superintendent of schools could conduct an audio visual program to be financed by the county.  A copy of this opinion is enclosed for your convenience.

            Since audio visual programs are authorized, the expenses incidental to carrying out the program are proper expenses to be approved by the county auditor, providing these expenses have been budgeted.  We feel this is true even when a portion of the funds for the program are derived from other sources.

            In respect to your inquiry concerning the furnishing of a car for the use of the director of the audio visual program, it is our view that the county could furnish this transportation.  Since the county superintendent, who is a county official, is authorized to incur travel expenses, and thus properly entitled to the use of a county car to assist her in carrying out the audio visual program, we feel that the director of the program, who is the superintendent's agent, could properly be furnished a county car in connection with the program.  In other words, the county superintendent, being authorized to use a county car for this purpose, could let her agent use the car.

            In your letter of September 20, 1951, you asked:

            "May a member of the county school staff, who is selected by, and responsible to the county superintendent, be considered a county employee, even though the salary is not paid by the county and the office is not listed in the budget?"

            We are not exactly sure what you mean by this question.  If you mean that this person's salary is paid from school district funds and not from the salaries and wages of the county budget, then we feel such a person would not be a "county employee" in the plain meaning sense of the term.  However, if you mean that this person is paid from funds budgeted to the county superintendent,  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] then we feel such a person would be a county employee.  Phrased another way, it is our opinion that the funds used to pay for the services of a particular person are determinative of whether such a person is a county employee or a school district employee.

Yours very truly,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

ROBERT L. SIMPSON
Assistant Attorney General

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