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AGLO 1973 No. 112 - December 10, 1973
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington

OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- COUNTY ‑- COMMISSIONERS ‑- HIGHWAYS ‑- CONTRACTS

Where a board of county commissioners makes a consolidated publication covering all day labor projects of more than $2,500 for the preceding year, as provided for in WAC 136-16-060, this publication will not constitute compliance by the board with the statutory requirements of RCW 36.77.070.

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                                                               December 10, 1973

County Road Administration Board
1501 Capitol Way
Olympia, Washington 98504                                                                                                             Cite as:  AGLO 1973 No. 112

Attention:  Mr. Wes. P. Brown, Chairman

Gentlemen:
 
            This is written in response to your recent letter requesting our opinion on the following question:
 
            Where a board of county commissioners makes a consolidated publication covering all day labor projects of more than $2,500 for the preceding year, as provided for in WAC 136-16-060, will this publication constitute compliance by the board with the statutory requirements of RCW 36.77.070?
 
            We believe that this question must be answered in the negative.
 
                                                                     ANALYSIS
 
            The county road administration board, as you know, was created by the legislature through its enactment of chapter 120, Laws of 1965, 1st Ex. Sess., now codified as chapter 36.78 RCW.  Its basic duties are set forth in RCW 36.78.070, as follows:
 
            "The county road administration board shall:
 
            "(1) Establish by regulation, standards of good practice for county road administration.
 
            "(2) Establish reporting requirements for counties with respect to the standards of good practice adopted by the board.
 
            "(3) Receive and review reports from counties and reports of the county road administration engineer to determine compliance with legislative directives and the standards of good practice adopted by the board.
 
             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]
            "(4) Report annually on the first day of July to the state highway commission and the joint committee on highways on the status of county road administration in each county.  The annual report shall contain recommendations for improving administration of the county road programs."
 
            Acting pursuant to this provision the board, on July 22, 1971, promulgated a regulation now codified as WAC 136-16-060.  This regulation states that:
 
            "Each Board of County Commissioners is required by law to publish a brief description of each day labor project exceeding a cost of twenty five hundred dollars with an accurate statement of the true and complete cost of performing such construction upon completion of the project.
 
            "Such information may be published upon completion of individual projects, or by making a consolidated publication covering all day labor projects over twenty five hundred dollars no later than March 1 of the year succeeding the program year."  (Emphasis supplied.)
 
            Your question assumes the compliance by a board of county commissioners with the underscored, alternative, method of publication of the information described in the first paragraph of this regulation and asks for our opinion as to whether this will also constitute compliance with the statutory requirements of RCW 36.77.070.
 
            That long-standing statute, which originated as § 34, chapter 187, Laws of 1937, and was most recently reenacted as § 36.77.070, chapter 4, Laws of 1963, provides as follows:
 
            "If the board determines that any construction should be performed by day labor and the estimated cost of the work exceeds twenty-five hundred dollars, it shall cause to be published in one issue of a newspaper of general circulation in the county, a brief description of the work to be done and the county road engineer's estimate of the cost thereof.  At the completion of such construction, the board shall cause to be published in  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] one issue of such a newspaper a similar brief description of the work together with an accurate statement of the true and complete cost of performing such construction by day labor.
 
            "Failure to make the required publication shall subject each county commissioner to a fine of one hundred dollars for which he shall be liable individually and upon his official bond and the prosecuting attorney shall prosecute for violation of the provisions of this section and RCW 36.77.060."  (Emphasis supplied.)
 
            Our negative answer to your question is based upon the portion of RCW 36.77.070 which we have above underscored.  In particular, the opening phrase ". . . At the completion of such construction, . . ." leads us to conclude that the legislature thereby intended to require that the information referred to in both this statute and your regulation be published by a board of county commissioners upon the completion of each construction project which the board has determined to have performed by day labor in accordance with the first sentence of the statute.  We do not, therefore, believe that publication of this information in a single, annual, consolidated publication, as alternatively provided for in WAC 136-16-060, will constitute compliance with this overriding statutory requirement.
 
            We trust 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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