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AGLO 1975 No. 68 - August 07, 1975
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington

COMMUNITY COLLEGES ‑- EMPLOYEES ‑- SALARIES ‑- APPROPRIATION ‑- STATE ‑- SALARY INCREASES FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE EMPLOYEES

So much of § 11, chapter 269, Laws of 1975, 1st Ex. Sess., as provides that not more than $117,016,320 in general fund moneys shall be expended for the continuation of certain specified salary increases for state employees does not have the effect of prohibiting community college faculty and staff who are not covered by chapter 28B.16 RCW from being granted additional pay raises during the 1975-77 biennium in accordance with RCW 28B.50.140(3).

                                                                  - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                  August 7, 1975

Honorable John C. Mundt
Director, State Board for
Community College Education
319 Seventh Avenue
Olympia, Washington 98504                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1975 No. 68

Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged you have requested our opinion on a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            Does so much of § 11, chapter 269, Laws of 1975, 1st Ex. Sess., as provides that not more than $117,016,320 in general fund moneys shall be expended for the continuation of certain specified salary increases for state employees have the effect of prohibiting community college faculty and staff who are not covered by chapter 28B.16 RCW from being granted additional pay raises during the 1975-77 biennium in accordance with RCW 28B.50.140(3)?

            We answer this question in the negative for the reasons set forth in our analysis.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Under the community college act of 1967, now codified in chapter 28B.50 RCW, each of the several community colleges is governed by a board of trustees ‑ subject to the general supervision and control of the state board for community college education in accordance with RCW 28B.50.090.  See, RCW 28B.50.100, et seq.  We particularly note RCW 28B.50.140, which provides that:

            "Each community college board of trustees:

            ". . .

            "(3) Shall employ for a period to be fixed by the board a college president for each community college, a director for each vocational-technical institute or school operated by a community college, a district president, if deemed necessary  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] by the board, in the event there is more than one college and/or separated institute or school located in the district, members of the faculty and such other administrative officers and other employees as may be necessary or appropriate and fix their salaries and duties;"

            The salaries thus fixed by each community college board of trustees may be funded with any moneys which are legally available for that purpose, and as indicated in AGLO 1975 No. 3 [[to Robert V. Graham, State Auditor on January 13, 1975 an Informal Opinion, AIR-75503]], copy enclosed, there are basically three categories of funds with which a community college can pay its various operational costs:  (1) Appropriated state funds; (2) budgeted local funds; and (3) nonbudgeted local funds.  Bearing this in mind, let us now examine the portion of the omnibus appropriations act for 1975-77 with which you are concerned.

            Section 11 of chapter 269, Laws of 1975, 1st Ex. Sess., reads in material part as follows:

            "FOR THE GOVERNOR‑-SPECIAL

            "APPROPRIATIONS
            "General Fund Appropriation‑-State ..........                                                       $ 105,640,918
            "General Fund Appropriation‑-Federal.........                                                       $  12,962,742
            "Special Fund Salary Increase Revolving Fund
                        "Appropriation..........................                                                              $  41,087,810
                        "Total Appropriation....................                                                          $ 159,691,470

            "The appropriations contained in this section shall be subject to the following conditions and limitations:

            ". . .

            "(8) Not more than $117,016,320 in general fund moneys (including $12,962,742 in federal funds) shall be expended for continuation during the 1975-77 biennium of the salary increases which were granted effective March 1, 1975 pursuant to section 2, chapter 9, Laws  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] of 1975 to state classified and higher education classified employees, state employees exempt from the classified service, faculty and exempt employees of the four year units of higher education and the community college system, excluding student employees not under the jurisdiction of the state personnel board or higher education personnel board classification systems, and commissioned members of the Washington state patrol.  Such salary increase funds include increments, or their equivalent, that may be granted by the individual institutions of higher education.

            ". . ."

            As will thus be seen, the item in question is a subsection of a special appropriation to the governor in the amount of $159,691,470.  This specific subsection allocates $117,016,320 from that larger appropriation to be used solely for the continuation of the salary increases previously granted by the legislature by § 2, chapter 9, Laws of 1975, to the several listed categories of state employees.1/

             The restrictive language "not more than", however, as it appears in subsection (8), is not a limitation on the entire amount of general fund moneys appropriated by chapter 269,supra, but rather it is simply a limitation on the  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] amount of money from the underlying $159,691,470 appropriation made by § 11, proper, which can be used for continuation of the earlier granted salary increases.  Thus, in essence, this subsection merely means that not more than $117,016,320 in general fund moneys from the larger appropriation to the governor may be expended for continuation during the 1975-77 biennium of the salary increases which were granted effective March 1, 1975.2/

             The remaining sections of chapter 269,supra, do not reveal language which would restrict or limit the use of any other community college funds for salary increases.  However, it should be noted that certain appropriations by their very nature are limited in use and therefore cannot be expended for such increases.  For example, in § 89 of chapter 269, the sum of $113,514,567 is appropriated to the state board for community college education for the instructional program.  The language in this section reads as follows:

            "The appropriation contained in this section shall be subject to the following conditions and limitations:

            "(1) $8,333,734 shall be expended for the purchase and repair of instructional equipment."

            Thus, by its very terms, $8,333,734 of this $113,514,567 cannot be used for salary increases but, instead, can be expended only "for the purchase and repair of instructional equipment."  However, nothing contained in that appropriation provision, or in § 11(8),supra, or any other legislative enactment of which we are aware purports to bar a community college from doing either of the following two things:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 5]]   (1) Using other appropriated funds or nonappropriated local funds which are legally available for the payment of salaries to fund a full continuation of the above described earlier granted salary increases if the funds allocated to the college from the appropriation made by § 11(8) of chapter 269, are insufficient; or

            (2) Using either such local funds or any appropriated funds which are legally available for the payment of salaries to provide additional pay increases for its faculty and exempt staff employees in accordance with RCW 28B.50.140(3),supra ‑ over and above the salary increases which were previously granted to those employees in response to § 2, chapter 9,supra.

            In so concluding we have not overlooked the final sentence of § 11(8),supra, which provides that:

            ". . .  Such salary increase funds include increments, or their equivalent, that may be granted by the individual institutions of higher education."

            However, it appears to us that this language simply constitutes a reference back to the first proviso in the above quoted portion of § 2, chapter 9; i.e., the proviso which states:

            ". . .  That the twelve percent average salary increase shall include both incremental increases and general salary increases granted previously within the individual institutions in fiscal year 1975: . . ."

            Thus, with respect to those incremental increases, the moneys appropriated by § 11(8), chapter 269, supra, may be used for their continuation during 1975-77.  But this will not prevent a community college board of trustees from using other moneys legally available for the payment of salaries to their faculty members and exempt staff employees to provide additional pay increases for those employees during the current biennium.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 6]]   We trust that the foregoing will be of some assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

SLADE GORTON
Attorney General

EDWARD B. MACKIE
Deputy Attorney General

                                                         ***   FOOTNOTES   ***

1/Insofar as that earlier enactment dealt with those categories of employees with which we are here concerned, it did so by the following general fund appropriation:

            "General Fund Appropriation:  To provide effective March 1, 1975, for faculty and exempt employees, excluding student employees not under the jurisdiction of the State Personnel Board or the Higher Education Personnel Board classification systems, of the four year units of higher education and the Community College System, an average salary increase of twelve percent:  PROVIDED, That the twelve percent average salary increase shall include both incremental increases and general salary increases granted previously within the individual institutions in fiscal year 1975:  PROVIDED FURTHER, That $781 of this amount shall be from federal sources $ 6,478,570"

2/We note that in prior bienniums the sums appropriated for salary increases have often not fully funded those increases, thereby requiring the employing agencies to absorb the additional costs within the confines of their own budgets.   The limiting language "not more than" in the instant appropriation effectively places a maximum upon the funds that can be derived from the special appropriation for the continuation of the salary increases.

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