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AGLO 1978 No. 8 - March 14, 1978
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington

OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- COUNTY ‑- SHERIFF ‑- CIVIL SERVICE ‑- HIGH SCHOOL LIBRARIAN AS CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSIONER

RCW 41.14.030 does not prohibit a person from simultaneously serving as a county civil service commissioner and as a high school librarian.

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                                                                  March 14, 1978

Honorable Curtis M. Janhunen
Prosecuting Attorney
Grays Harbor County
P.O. Box 550
Montesano, Washington 98563                                                                                                                 Cite as:  AGLO 1978 No. 8

Dear Sir:

            By recent letter you have requested our opinion on the following question:

            Does RCW 41.14.030 prohibit an employee of a local school district (Aberdeen High School librarian) from serving as a civil service commissioner?

            We answer the foregoing question in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Chapter 41.14 RCW relates to civil service for deputy county sheriffs, and RCW 41.14.030 provides for the appointment of a three‑member civil service commission in each county.  In its next to last sentence, this statute then provides that

            ". . .  No member after appointment shall hold any salaried public office or engage in county employment, other than his commission duties. . . ."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]   In our opinion, however, the position of high school librarian is not a public office within the meaning of this statute.  See,e.g.,Oceanographic Comm'n v. O'Brien, 74 Wn.2d 904, 447 P.2d 707 (1968), and other cases cited therein to the effect that:

            ". . . five elements are indispensable in any position of public employment, in order to make it a public office of a civil nature:  (1) It must be created by the Constitution or by the legislature or created by a municipality or other body through authority conferred by the legislature; (2) it must possess a delegation of a portion of the sovereign power of government, to be exercised for the benefit of the public; (3) the powers conferred and the duties to be discharged must be defined, directly or impliedly, by the legislature or through legislative authority; (4) the duties must be performed independently and without control of a superior power, other than the law, unless they be those of an inferior or subordinate office, created or authorized by the legislature and by it placed under the general control of a superior officer or body; (5) it must have some permanency and continuity and not be only temporary or occasional."

            As you have described the position of high school librarian it seems clear to us that it is a mere employment and not a public office as thus defined.  But of equal importance here, in view of the second aspect of RCW 41.14.030,supra, it is not, even so, a county employment‑-for the obvious reason that the public schools in our state are operated by separate municipalities known as school districts‑- and not by counties.  See, in general, chapter 28A.58 RCW.  Therefore, in summary, our direct answer to your question is in the negative.  RCW 41.14.030 does not, in our opinion, prohibit a person from simultaneously serving as a county civil service commissioner and as a high school librarian.

            It is hoped 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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