Honorable John C. Merkel
Kitsap County Court House
Port Orchard, Washington 98366
Cite as: AGLO 1971 No. 47 (not official)
This is written in response to your recent letter requesting our opinion as to the amount of salary payable to the court reporter for the judicial district comprising Kitsap county.
As you have correctly pointed out, the salaries of court reporters are governed by RCW 2.32.210, which provides, in material part, as follows:
"Each official reporter shall be paid compensation as follows:
". . .
"(2) In all judicial districts having a total population of one hundred thousand or over, excluding class AA counties, eleven thousand dollars per annum; . . ."
After quoting this statutory provision, you have set forth the factual basis for your question, together with the specific issue raised, as follows:
"On January 1, 1971, the Official Census was announced and stated that as of April 1, 1970, Kitsap County had a population of over 100,000 persons. My question is this, should court reporters in our county be paid at the rate of $11,000.00 per annum from January 1, 1971, when the Official Census was announced, or from April 1, 1970, the date the Official Census was completed?"
Our answer to this question is that neither of the two dates which you have mentioned is necessarily determinative of when, if at all, the salary of the court reporter for the judicial district comprising Kitsap county is to be [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] raised from $10,500 per annum1/ to the $11,000 per annum level which is specified for those judicial districts having a total population of 100,000 or over. The reason for this answer, simply stated, is that the populations of the various judicial districts (for the purpose of establishing court reporter salary levels), have not been made determinable solely on the basis of the most recent decennial federal census. See, opinion dated October 30, 1964, to the Administrator of the Courts, copy enclosed.2/
If, however, you should decide to use the official census figures as your population base for this purpose, we are of the opinion that this would require the resulting salary change to be effective as of April 1, 1970, the official "census day," in accordance with the ruling by the Washington supreme court in State ex rel. Jordan v. DeHart, 15 Wn.2d 551, 131 P.2d 156 (1942). Thus, only by utilizing some other measure of population keyed to the date of January 1, 1971, instead of the April 1, 1970 "census day" could this 1971 date be regarded as the effective date of the salary change.
It is hoped that the foregoing will be of some assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Philip H. Austin
Deputy Attorney General
*** FOOTNOTES ***
1/See, RCW 2.32.210 (3), applicable to judicial districts with a total population of more than forty thousand and less than one hundred thousand.
2/Cf., letter dated August 17, 1970, to the prosecuting attorney of Chelan county, copy of which you will also find enclosed.