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AGO 1950 No. 289 - June 28, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

COUNTY TUBERCULOSIS HOSPITALS.

County tuberculosis hospitals cannot place employees under jurisdiction of the state personnel board.

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                                                                   June 28, 1950

J. A. Kahl, M.D.
Acting Director
Department of Health
Smith Tower
Seattle 4, Washington                                                                                                 Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 289

Dear Sir:

            This is in answer to your letter in which you request our opinion on the following question:

            "Can a joint county tuberculosis hospital bring its employees under the merit system as administered by the State Personnel Board?"

            Our conclusion is as follows:

            Under the present laws, county tuberculosis hospitals cannot place their employees under the jurisdiction of the State Personnel Board.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]                                                                             

            County health boards have been included within the Merit System Rule of the State Personnel Board since 1941 in order to meet the requirements.                                                                             

            This step was taken through the State Health Department on the basis that the state and county health departments are closely integrated by law and county departments are completely within the control of the state agency.

            County tuberculosis hospitals, both separate and joint, are strictly county projects and are not subject to control by the state health department in the same sense as county health officers.

            The Director of Health has a duty to inspect the hospitals and pass on building plans.  He may withhold state funds from unapproved hospitals, but he does not control the hospitals directly by regulations as he does with county health departments.

            We believe the above distinctions clearly indicate that tuberculosis hospitals are not part of the state health department so as to enter the state merit system as an adjunct of the State Health Department.  Nor are county tuberculosis hospitals subject to inclusion in the merit system by designation of the Governor.  It would require an act of the legislature to place county hospital employees under the merit system administered by the State Personnel Board.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

JAMES M. MORRIS
Assistant Attorney General

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