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AGO 1987 No. 17 - June 19, 1987
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Ken Eikenberry | 1981-1992 | Attorney General of Washington

STATE ‑- CIVIL SERVICE ‑- EMPLOYEES ‑- BOARD OF TAX APPEALS ‑- AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE SALARIES, JOB DESCRIPTIONS AND QUALIFICATION FOR POSITIONS WITHIN THE BOARD OF TAX APPEALS

The Board of Tax Appeals may appoint, discharge and fix the compensation of non-exempt employees listed in RCW 82.03.070 under the guidelines and requirements of chapter 41.06 RCW.

                                                              - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

                                                                   June 19, 1987

Ms. Michiko Fujii, Chair
Board of the Tax Appeals
1010 Cherry Street, PD-12
Olympia, Washington 98504-8212

Cite as:  AGO 1987 No. 17                                                                                                                

 Dear Ms. Fujii:

             By letter previously acknowledged you requested our opinion concerning the authority of the Board of Tax Appeals under RCW 82.03.070 to hire and fix compensation of certain employees.  We paraphrase your question as follows:

                         Does RCW 82.03.070 confer authority upon the Board of Tax Appeals, to the exclusion of the otherwise existing authority of the State Personnel Board under chapter 41.06 RCW, to determine (a) the salaries and (b) the descriptions and qualifications for the positions contained in RCW 82.03.070?

 We answer your question as set forth in our analysis.

                                                                      ANALYSIS

             The interpretation of RCW 82.03.070 necessarily requires an analysis of chapter 41.06 RCW, the State Civil Service Law.  Chapter 41.06 RCW originated with the passage of Initiative 207 in 1960.  Laws of 1961, ch. 1.  The chapter's purpose was to establish a state system of personnel administration governing, among other things, appointments, retention, and pay plans.  RCW 41.06.010 provides that "[a]ll appointments and promotions to positions, and retention therein, in the state service, shall be made on the basis  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] of policies hereinafter specified [in the civil service law]."

             The provisions of the State Civil Service Law apply to

                         (1) Each board, commission or other multimember body, including, but not limited to, those consisting in whole or in part of elective officers;

                         (2) Each agency, and each employee and position therein, not expressly excluded or exempted under the provisions of RCW 41.06.070.

 RCW 41.06.040.

             RCW 41.06.070 exempts from the provisions of the State Civil Service Law

                         (8) In the case of a multimember board, commission, or committee, whether the members thereof are elected, appointed by the governor or other authority, serve ex officio, or are otherwise chosen:

                         (a) All members of such boards, commissions, or committees;

                        . . .

                         (c) If the members of the board, commission, or committee serve on a full-time basis:  (i) The chief executive officer or administrative officer as designated by the board, commission, or committee; and (ii)  a confidential secretary to the chairman of the board, commission, or committee;

                        . . .

             The Legislature has exempted other specific positions within specific agencies, commissions, and departments.  See RCW 41.06.071-41.06.089.  Other than those listed in RCW 41.06.070(8), no such specific exemptions for positions within the Board of Tax Appeals have been provided in the State Civil Service Law.  Therefore, under that statute alone, the only exempt positions are those of the Board members themselves, the Board's chief executive officer or administrative officer, and the chair's confidential secretary.

              [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

             However, RCW 82.03.070, enacted in 1967, provides:

                         The board [of tax appeals] may appoint, discharge and fix the compensation of an executive secretary, a clerk, and such other clerical, professional, and technical assistants as may be necessary.

 The Legislature has enacted several other statutes that grant agencies and board authority to appoint certain employees, including executive secretaries.  Most of these other statutes specifically exempt certain positions from the requirements of chapter 41.06 RCW.  See, e.g., RCW 18.72.155 (executive secretary to Medical Disciplinary Board exempt); RCW 43.20.030 (executive secretary and confidential secretary to the State Board of Health exempt).  In RCW 82.03.070, the Legislature did not specifically exempt any of the Board's positions from the State Civil Service Law.

             Inconsistency between State statutes upon a given subject is never presumed, but such interpretation or construction should be adopted as will harmonize all acts upon the subject, if reasonably possible.  Lindsey v. Superior Court, 33 Wn.2d 94, 204 P.2d 482 (1949).  In so harmonizing statutes, force and effect should be given to each statute.  Int'l Commercial Collectors v. Carver, 99 Wn.2d 302, 661 P.2d 976 (1983).

             Using the above rule of statutory construction, the only Board of Tax Appeals personnel exempt from the State Civil Service Law are those exempted by that law itself:  the members of the Board, the person performing the duties of a chief administrative officer appointed by the Board, and the Chair's confidential secretary.  The Board may appoint, discharge, and fix the compensation of all other employees listed in RCW 82.03.070 under the guidelines and requirements of chapter 41.06 RCW, the State Civil Service Law.

             We trust this will be of assistance to you.

 Very truly yours,
KENNETH O. EIKENBERRY
Attorney General 

NANCY THYGESEN DAY
Assistant Attorney General

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