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AGO 1961 No. 21 - April 04, 1961
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington


Agent vendors appointed by the liquor control board under the authority of RCW 66.08.050 (2) are covered by the provisions of the state civil service law.

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                                                                    April 4, 1961

Honorable Alf M. Jacobsen
Prosecuting Attorney
Wahkiakum County
Cathlamet, Washington

                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 61-62 No. 21

Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged you requested an opinion of this office on the following question:

            Are agent vendors appointed by the liquor control board under the authority of RCW 66.08.050 (2) covered by the provisions of the state civil service law (Initiative No. 207)?

            We answer this question in the affirmative as explained in the analysis.


            Initially, we would direct your attention to RCW 66.08.050 (2) which reads, in part, as follows:

            "The board, subject to the provisions of this title and the regulations, shall

            ". . .

            "(2) appoint in cities and towns, in which no store is located, liquor vendors.  Such liquor vendors shall be agents of the board and be authorized to sell liquor to such persons as may purchase liquor from a store, and such vendors shall be subject to  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] such additional rules and regulations consistent with this title as the board may require;"

            We are informed that the liquor control board has established approximately one hundred and sixty such agent-vendors about one‑half of which conduct a business only partially pertaining to retailing of alcoholic beverages.  All such agent-vendors are, however, subject to a complete and complex set of rules, regulations and instructions promulgated by the liquor control board, which govern such matters as price, hours of operation, and conditions under which the goods may be sold.  In AGO 47-48 p. 106 [[1947-48 OAG 106b to State Liquor Control Board on June 18, 1948]], a copy of which is attached hereto, we held that such vendors were employees within the meaning of the state employees' retirement system, chapter 41.40 RCW.  As we there pointed out, the determination must be made as to whether these agent-vendors are independent contractors or employees.

            We have re‑examined [[reexamined]]that opinion and the factual information upon which it was based, and conclude that it correctly states that agent-vendors are employees of the state of Washington within the normal and usual meaning of that term.

            Section 4 (2) of Initiative No. 207 reads as follows:

            "The provisions of this act apply to:

            ". . .

            "(2) Each agency, andeach employee and position therein, not expressly excluded or exempted under the provisions of section 7 of this act."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            We find no expressed exemption of agent-vendors in section 7 of the Initiative.  We are, however, as we have stated, fully aware that many of these agent-vendors devote only a portion of their time to the business of retailing alcoholic beverages.  We therefore direct your attention to section 7 (12) of the Initiative, which reads as follows:

            "The provisions of this act do not apply to:

            ". . .

            "(12) Inmate, student,part time or temporary employees, and part time professional consultants,  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] as defined by the State Personnel Board or the Board having jurisdiction;" (Emphasis supplied.)

            As we interpret this subsection, it would be proper for the State Personnel Board to define agent-vendors as "part time" if in fact they devote only a portion of their time to the business of the state.  Since no such determination has at this time been made, we must conclude that all agent-vendors are covered by the State Civil Service Law.

            We trust the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General

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