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AGO 1950 No. 412 - December 29, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington


The term "subordinate officers" as found in the statute relates only to administrative positions.

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                                                               December 29, 1950

Department of Public Institutions
Social Security Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 412

Attention:  Mr. Van R. Hinkle, Supervisor


            You have requested the opinion of this office on the following question:

            Do the words "subordinate officers" in Rem. Rev. Stat. 4633 apply to administrative positions only?

            Our conclusions may be summarized as follows:

            The term "subordinate officers" as found in the statute relates only to administrative positions.


            Chapter 157, Laws of 1913, establishes a state school for girls.  Section 3 of that act (Rem. Rev. Stat. 4633) provides as follows:

            "The government, control, and business management of such school shall be vested in the state board of control.  The board shall, with the approval of the governor, appoint a suitable superintendent of said school and shall designate the number of subordinate officers and employees to be employed, and fix their respective salaries,  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] and have power, with the like approval, to make and enforce all such rules and regulations for the administration, government and discipline of the school as they may deem just and proper, not inconsistent with this act.  The superintendent and all subordinate officers of the school shall be women:  Provided, however, if a married woman be appointed superintendent or to any subordinate position, the husband of such appointee may, with the consent of the board, reside at the institution, and may be assigned such duties or employment as the board may prescribe."

            It seems clear from the wording of the statute that a distinction is made between subordinate officers of the institution and employees.  The term, subordinate officers, relates to those persons who are subordinates of the superintendent of the school and who assists her in carrying out the administrative functions of the institution.

            The specific examples you gave us in your request for an opinion relates to men who are employed in engineering, farm and maintenance positions at the institution.  Clearly those persons would be employees and not subordinate officers of the institution inasmuch as they have no administrative duties.

            There are many cases to the effect that the term employee relates to a person who has certain duties to perform as contrasted from an officer whose functions pertain to the administration of government.  Dade County v. State, 116 So. 72, 76, 95 Fla. 465; State ex rel. Wickens v. Clark, 196 N.E. 234, 237, 208 Ind. 402;Hyde v. Board of Com'rs. of Wells County, 198 N.E. 333, 337, 209 Ind. 245.

            Accordingly, you are advised that it is the opinion of this office that the statutory provision in Rem. Rev. Stat. 4633, supra, that all subordinate officers of the state school for girls must be women relates to administrative positions only.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General

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