Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1957 No. 44 - Apr 8 1957
Attorney General John J. O'Connell


The director of the veterans' rehabilitation council may be paid a salary not to exceed $8500.

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                                                                    April 8, 1957

Honorable Cliff Yelle
State Auditor
Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 57-58 No. 44

Attention:  Mr. F. D. Keister, Assistant

Dear Sir:

            We have received your request asking whether you are in error in paying the salary of the director of the veterans' rehabilitation council at the annual rate of $7500.

            Our answer is that you are not in error.


            Section 2, chapter 110, Laws of 1947, codified as RCW 43.61.020, provides that the veterans' rehabilitation council shall employ a director at a salary "not to exceed six thousand dollars."  You have advised us that you have been paying the director an annual salary of $7500 in accordance with your interpretation of a later statute, § 2, chapter 340, Laws of 1955, codified as RCW 43.03.040 (1955 Supp.).  This section reads as follows:

            "The directors of the several departments and members of the several boards and commissions, who  Orig. Op. Page 2 are subject to appointment by the governor, shall each severally receive such salaries, payable in monthly installments, as shall be fixed by the governor, after consideration of the recommendations of the advisory committee on salaries created in RCW 43.03.028, upon the basis of official responsibility, not to exceed, however, the sum of twelve thousand dollars per annum for the director, acting director, commissioner, board member or other such officer, except the director of public institutions and the sum of eight thousand five hundred dollars for the director of the veterans' rehabilitation council."

            If it were not for the concluding clause in this section, there might be significant doubt as to the propriety of paying an employee of the veterans' rehabilitation council an additional salary in reliance upon its terms.  However, to suggest that because the director of this council is not appointed by the governor, he may not claim the salary benefit granted by the statute, would be to ignore completely the effect of the concluding clause.

            "It is an elementary rule of construction that effect must be given, if possible, to every word, clause and sentence of a statute.'  A statute should be construed so that effect is given to all its provisions, so that no part will be inoperative or superfluous, void or insignificant, and so that one section will not destroy another unless the provision is the result of obvious mistake or error."  2 Sutherland Statutory Construction, § 4705.

            Whether or not the director is an appointee of the governor, it was clearly the legislative intent that he should be paid a salary "not to exceed eight thousand five hundred dollars."

            We trust the foregoing will prove helpful.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General