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AGLO 1979 No. 5 - January 18, 1979
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington

OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- COUNTY ‑- SHERIFF ‑- CIVIL SERVICE ‑- DISMISSAL OR SUSPENSION OF DEPUTY SHERIFFS

The provisions of chapter 41.14 RCW constitute the exclusive means of removing, suspending, demoting or otherwise taking action adverse to the employment status of a deputy sheriff whose employment is covered by that law, any provisions contained in a collective bargaining agreement to the contrary not withstanding.

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                                                                 January 18, 1979

Honorable Robert K. Leick
Prosecuting Attorney
Skamania County
Courthouse Building
Stevenson, Washington 98648                                                                                                                 Cite as:  AGLO 1979 No. 5

Dear Sir:

            This is written in response to your request for an attorney general's opinion on a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            May a county contract with the labor organization representing its sheriff's department employees who are covered by RCW 41.14.080 ". . . to provide for dismissal, suspension, or other adverse action to the employee through binding arbitration as an alternative procedure to that set out in RCW 41.14.080, making the alternative remedy the effective remedy if it is chosen?"

            We answer the foregoing question in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            As you have acknowledged, this same question was previously considered, and negatively answered, in an informal  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] letter opinion written to you on July 26, 1978.  In so concluding we relied, specifically, upon the following express language of RCW 41.14.080:

            ". . . No person in the classified civil service shall be . . . transferred, suspended, or discharged from any such place, position, or employment contrary to the provisions of this chapter."

            Of this statute we said:

            ". . . In short, as we view it, because of RCW 41.14.080,supra, the provisions of chapter 41.14 RCW constitute the exclusive means of removing, suspending, demoting or otherwise taking action adverse to the employment status of a deputy sheriff whose employment is covered by that law.  See also, the further express language of RCW 41.14.120."

            In response to your instant request we have reviewed the question again but are unable to find any legal basis for now arriving at a contrary conclusion.

            We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

SLADE GORTON
Attorney General

PHILIP H. AUSTIN
Deputy Attorney General

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