Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1961 No. 32 -
Attorney General John J. O'Connell


Under section 5, Initiative No. 207 (§ 5, chapter 1, Laws of 1960) the personnel committee of each institution of higher learning is to consist of three members of its governing body.

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                                                                   May 29, 1961

Honorable Perry B. Mitchell
Acting President
Central Washington College of Education
Ellensburg, Washington

                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 61-62 No. 32

Dear Sir:

            This is written in reply to your recent letter in which you requested an opinion of this office on a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            May the personnel committee of Central Washington College, established pursuant to the provisions of Initiative 207 (chapter 1, Laws of 1960), be comprised of the five members of the board of trustees?

            In answer to your question, the personnel committee of each institution of higher learning under Initiative 207 is to consist of three members of its governing body.


            At the November, 1960 general state election the people passed Initiative 207 (chapter 1, Laws of 1960) which is a comprehensive civil service act covering state employment.  Section 5 of the Initiative reads as follows:

            "At each institution of higher learning the governing body shall within thirty (30) days after the effective date of this act designate three (3) of its members as a permanent Personnel Committee,compensated and reimbursed as provided in section  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]11 of this act, to enforce and perform for all its non-academic personnel, except those in positions specifically exempted by the governing body on analogy to the exemptions of section 7 of this act, the policies and duties given to the State Personnel Board by sections 1, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, and 27 of this act, and shall designate a qualified full-time nonacademic employee to perform for such personnel at the institution the duties under section 13 of the Director of Personnel.  The comptroller or corresponding officer shall likewise perform for the institution the functions of the Budget Director under section 27 of this act."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            The board of trustees of Central Washington College of Education, an administrative board created by statute, has only those powers expressly granted it by statute or those powers necessarily implied therefrom.  See,State ex rel. Eastvold v. Maybury, 49 Wn. (2d) 533, 304 P. (2d) 663 (1956).  The court in theMaybury case held that where a person or board is charged by law with a specific duty, and the means for its performance are appointed by law, there is no room for implied powers and the means appointed must be followed.

            It is the opinion of this office that the provisions of section 5,supra, are plain, clear, unambiguous and mandatory.  The board of trustees of the college was required on December 8, 1960, to designate three of its members "as a permanent Personnel Committee."  The board has no authority to increase the membership of this committee contrary to the clear language of the act.  This conclusion is strengthened when reference is made to section 11 of the act, which provides for the compensation and reimbursement of the members of the committee.  This section reads as follows:

            "(2) Each member of the Board shall be paid fifty (50) dollars for each day in which he has actually attended a meeting of the Board officially held.  The members of the Board may receive any number of daily payments for official meetings of the Board, actually attended:  Provided, That after July 1, 1962, no one Board member shall receive more than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) in any fiscal year for this purpose:  Provided further, That such limitation shall not apply to daily payments for the hearing of employee appeals.  Members  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] of the Board shall also be reimbursed for necessary travel and other expenses incurred in the discharge of their official duties on the same basis as is provided for state officers and employees generally."

            Any increase in the membership of the committee would result in an increased and unauthorized expenditure of public funds.

            Nothing we have stated herein is intended to reflect in any way upon the motives or integrity of any members of the board of trustees who requested that you submit the above question to this office.  We understand, as you outline in your letter, that ordinarily the board does not operate by committees, but as a single body.  While this is true, the provisions of Initiative 207, generally, and section 5 thereof in particular, governs the membership of the "permanent Personnel Committee."

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

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General