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AGLO 1977 No. 10 - March 15, 1977
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington

OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- STATE ‑- STATE BOARD FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE EDUCATION ‑- ELIGIBILITY OF PERSONS EMPLOYED BY OTHER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

Because of the provisions of RCW 28B.50.050 a member of the faculty at the University of Washington, being employed by the board of regents of that institution, is ineligible for simultaneous service as a member of the state board for community college education.

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                                                                  March 15, 1977

Honorable Dixie Lee Ray
Governor of the State of Washington
Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington 98504

Attention  Mr. H. B. Hanna

                  Legal Counsel                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1977 No. 10


Dear Governor Ray:

            By recent letter you have directed our attention to so much of RCW 28B.50.050, relating to membership on the state board for community college education, as provides that:

            ". . .  No member of the college board shall be, during his term of office, also a member of the state board of education, a member of a K-12 board, a member of the governing board of any public or private educational institution, a member of a community college board of trustees, or an employee of any of the above boards, or have any direct pecuniary interest in education within this state."

            You have then asked whether the foregoing statutory prohibition would preclude a member of the faculty of the University of Washington from simultaneously serving on  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] the state board for community college education.  In our opinion your question must be answered in the affirmative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The first issue expressed in your letter is whether RCW 28B.50.050,supra, would preclude a faculty member of the University of Washington from serving on the state board for community college education because of its prohibition against any such member having ". . . any direct pecuniary interest in education within this state."  We need not, however, determine that issue in order to answer your question.  Instead, our answer is based upon the premise that regardless of whether the "interest" of a mere employee of a state or university would, by itself, be sufficient to disqualify him under that portion of RCW 28B.50.050, supra, his status as such an employee must be deemed to render him ineligible under an earlier portion of the same statute.

            Clearly, the board of regents of the University of Washington constitutes ". . . the governing board . . . of a public educational institution . . ." as that term is used in RCW 28B.50.050,supra.  See, RCW 28B.20.100.  And, in turn, RCW 28B.20.130 empowers the board of regents to, among other things

            ". . . employ the president of the university, his assistants,members of the faculty, and employees of the institution, who except as otherwise provided by law, shall hold their positions during the pleasure of said board of regents."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            Therefore, it necessarily follows that a member of the faculty of the University of Washington, having been employed by the board of regents, serves as an employee of that board.  It is for that reason we are constrained to advise you that such an individual is barred by RCW 28B.50.050 from simultaneously serving as a member of the state board for community college education.

            Finally, in response to one further inquiry made in your letter, we also are unable to see how it would make any difference, insofar as the foregoing conclusion is concerned, if the faculty member's salary were paid from a  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] source other than state funds; i.e., from a direct federal or private grant.  Irrespective of the source of funds from which such a faculty member's salary is paid, he remains, by virtue of RCW 28B.20.130(2), supra, an employee of the board of regents of the University of Washington which, in turn, constitutes the governing body of a public educational institution within the meaning of the subject statute.

            It is hoped that the foregoing will be of some assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

SLADE GORTON
Attorney General


PHILIP H. AUSTIN
Deputy Attorney General

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