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AGO 1961 No. 30 - May 19, 1961
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington

OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- STATE ‑- FERRY SYSTEM ‑- EMPLOYEES NOT SUBJECT TO STATE PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT

The enactment of chapter 278, Laws of 1961, affecting the powers, duties and authority of the Washington Toll Bridge Authority and the Highway Commission did not have the effect of putting employees of the Washington State Ferry System under the jurisdiction of the Washington State Personnel Department.

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                                                                   May 19, 1961

Honorable D. B. Hedges
Executive Secretary
Washington Toll Bridge Authority
Transportation Building
Olympia, Washington

                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 61-62 No. 3Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged, you have requested an opinion of this office on whether the enactment of chapter 278, Laws of 1961 has altered the conclusion this office reached in AGO 61-62 No. 7, wherein we held that employees of the Washington State Ferry System covered by the provisions of chapter 47.64 RCW were not subject to the jurisdiction of the Washington State Personnel Department.

            We answer your question in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            In AGO 61-62 No. 7 [[to Washington Toll Bridge Authority on January 31, 1961]]we held that employees covered by the provisions of chapter 47.64 RCW were not subject to the jurisdiction of the Washington State Personnel Department.  In reaching the conclusion we reasoned that it was not the intent of the people in enacting the State Civil Service Law to substitute a Civil Service System for the existing comprehensive labor agreements and appeal procedures provided by chapter 47.64 RCW for Washington State Ferry employees.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            Chapter 47.64 RCW established a Maritime Commission which has the authority to administer labor relations and to adjudicate all labor disputes between the employees of the ferry system and the appointing authority.  Chapter 278, Laws of 1961, is an amendatory act affecting the powers, duties and authority of the Washington Toll Bridge Authority and the Highway Commission.  Sections 8 and 9 of this chapter read as follows:

            "The state highway commission shall have full charge of the construction of all toll bridges and other toll facilities including the Washington state ferries that may be authorized by the Washington toll bridge authority, and the operation and maintenance thereof and the collection of tolls and charges thereon.  The commission shall have full charge of design of all toll facilities.  The commission shall proceed with the construction of such toll bridges and other facilities and the approaches thereto by contract in the manner of state highway construction immediately upon there being made available funds for such work and shall prosecute such work to completion as rapidly as practicable."  (Section 8)

            "All powers vested in the authority relating to the acquiring, operating, extending, designing, constructing, repairing and maintenance of the Washington state ferries or any part thereof and the collecting of tolls and charges for use of its facilities, shall be performed by the authority through the state highway commission:  Provided, That the authority shall determine all fares, tolls and other charges for its facilities and shall directly perform all duties and exercise all powers relating to financing, refinancing and fiscal management of the system's bonded indebtedness in the manner provided by law."  (Section 9)

            You now ask us, in effect, whether sections 8 and 9 of chapter 278, Laws of 1961, set forth above, have impliedly repealed the provisions of chapter 47.64 RCW.  In respect to repeals by implication, our court has said:

            "'Repeals by implication are ordinarily not favored in law, and a later act will not operate to repeal an earlier act except in such instances where the later act covers the entire subject matter of the earlier  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] legislation, is complete in itself, and is evidently intended to supersede the prior legislation on the subject, or unless the two acts are so clearly inconsistent with, and repugnant to, each other that they cannot, by a fair and reasonable construction, be reconciled and both given effect.'"  Tacoma v. Cavanaugh, 45 Wn. (2d) 500, 503, 275 P. (2d) 933 (1954).

            We find nothing repugnant to chapter 47.64 RCW in the provisions of chapter 278, Laws of 1961.  The former act deals with the administration of labor relations and the latter deals in part with the responsibility and authority for the administration of the ferry system.  In our opinion the two acts can easily be reconciled and both given effect.

            We therefore hold that the enactment of chapter 278, Laws of 1961, does not effect our conclusion in AGO 61-62 No. 7.

            We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General

R. TED BOTTIGER
Assistant Attorney General

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