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January 26, 1971
Honorable E. R. Whitmore, Jr.
P.O. Box 596
Wenatchee, Washington 98801
Cite as: AGLO 1971 No. 12 (not official)
We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated January 22, 1971, requesting our review and critique of your recent opinion to the Chelan county coroner and auditor regarding the coroner's eligibility to continue in office under RCW 36.16.020.
We may advise you that we are in full agreement with the views which you have expressed in your opinion on this question. Accord, State ex rel. Vanderveer v. Gormley, 53 Wash. 543, 102 Pac. 435 (1909), which you have cited.
In further support of the proposition that your county coroner is entitled to continue in office by reason of the failure of a successor to have been elected at the November 1970 general election, see our opinion dated February 1, 1916, to the prosecuting attorney of Clark county, copy of which is enclosed. In this opinion we also relied upon the Gormley case in dealing with the status of hold-over county coroners. In addition, we recently had occasion to apply much the same principles in connection with the status of an incumbent justice of the peace where no successor was elected or qualified. See, letter dated January 7, 1971, to State Senator Hubert Donohue, copy enclosed.
It is hoped that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Philip H. Austin
Deputy Attorney General