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October 12, 1971
Honorable Granville Egan
Republic, Washington 99166
Cite as: AGLO 1971 No. 119 (not official)
We acknowledge receipt of your letter of October 7, 1971, requesting our advice as to whether the salaries of county elected officials, as provided for in chapter 237, Laws of 1971, 1st Ex. Sess., are mandatory.
Without doubt, this question must be answered in the affirmative. The legislation in question, a Xerox copy of which is enclosed, provides that the salaries of the officers enumerated therein shall be as thereafter set forth.
Moreover, as detailed in AGO 65-66 No. 115 [[to Perry Woodall, State Senator on October 20, 1966]], copy enclosed, the function of fixing the salaries of county elected officials is currently vested exclusively in our state legislature by virtue of Article XI, § 8 of our state constitution. Although this 1966 opinion dealt with the ability of a board of county commissioners to pay its prosecuting attorney a higher salary than had been fixed by the legislature, the reasoning of this opinion is equally applicable to any proposal to pay a lower salary than is fixed by law to a prosecuting attorney or other county elected official.
In connection with the foregoing, you might, however, be interested in noting the provisions of a proposed constitutional amendment which is scheduled to appear on the state election ballot in November of 1972. This amendment, as proposed by Senate Joint Resolution No. 38 of the 1971 legislative session, would allow the legislature to delegate the function of fixing county officials' salaries to the various counties themselves. You will also find a Xerox copy of this item enclosed for your immediate reference.
[[Orig. Op. Page 2]]
It is hoped that the foregoing will be of some assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Philip H. Austin
Deputy Attorney General