KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) — Attorney General Bob Ferguson explained his gay discrimination lawsuit against a Richland florist during his visit Wednesday to the Tri-Cities…. …read more
From: AP Washington News
A new list of three, but they can’t pick their own, that’s the answer for Grays Harbor County Commissioners from the state Attorney General’s office in the ongoing debate to fill the vacant County Prosecutor position.
A letter from the AG’s office yesterday said that if the commissioners chose one of the three names provided by the Democratic party – which they did when they chose Vini Samuel, and that person declines – which she did in November, then the position is again vacated and the commissioners go back to the Democratic party for a new list of three candidates.
The opinion also noted that the county commissioners can not choose someone on their own, or make up another list, an option explored by commissioner Frank Gordon last month, when the commissioners demanded a second list under the threat of making their own.
OLYMPIA — The Attorney General’s Office today released an informal opinion that addresses the most time-sensitive part of a four-part request made by Interim Grays Harbor County Prosecutor Gerald Fuller.
The opinion addresses the process for filling the vacancy in the Grays Harbor County Prosecutor’s office caused by the retirement of former prosecutor, Stew Menefee, in September.
The opinion concludes that the Constitution requires the Grays Harbor County Commissioners to select an appointee from a list of three candidates nominated by the County Central Committee of the same political party as the person who vacated the position. Article II, section 15 of the Constitution clearly states that “the person appointed to fill the vacancy must be from . . . the same political party as the [person] whose office has been vacated, and shall be one of three persons who shall be nominated by the county central committee of that party.”
How and when the Attorney General issues opinions
The Washington Attorney General, as the chief law officer of the state, provides official opinions on questions of law at the request of designated public officials, such as legislators and prosecutors, on issues arising in the course of their duties.
On Dec. 12, Interim Grays Harbor County Prosecutor, Gerald Fuller, requested an opinion from the Office of the Attorney General related to the process for filling vacancies.
Menefee retired on Sept. 30, 2013. He was an elected Democrat, whose term expires on Dec. 31, 2014. The County Commission appointed Fuller to serve as interim prosecutor.
The Grays Harbor Democratic Party submitted to the Grays Harbor County Commission a list of three nominees to fill the vacancy on Oct. 4, 2013.
On Oct. 24, the county commission selected Montesano attorney Vini Samuel. Samuel formally declined the position. The party then requested the governor make the appointment from the two remaining nominees.
The chair of the County Commission announced on Dec. 9 that the party must submit a new list of nominees within 10 days or the Commission would select its own Democratic nominee outside the list provided by the party.
Fuller submitted a request for an Attorney General’s opinion on Thursday, December 12, asking:
What is being released today
Because the commission stated it would select its own candidate if the party did not provide a new list within 10 days of Dec. 9, the Attorney General’s Office is releasing an informal opinion today answering the third question to provide relevant information to county officials before the stated day of action.
The Attorney General’s Office will designate the rest of the request as a formal attorney general’s opinion. Formal opinions take more time and require more rigorous review.
What the informal opinion concludes
In response to Fuller’s question, the Attorney General’s Office informal opinion states that the Grays Harbor County Commissioners may not appoint an individual who is not on the list provided by the local Democratic Party to serve as Grays Harbor County Prosecutor.
The opinion points to Washington’s Constitution, which states that when a vacancy occurs in a partisan, county elective office, the county legislative authority must fill the vacancy with a person of the same political party as the person who vacated the position. The Constitution further says the nominee must be chosen from a list of three provided to the commission by the county political party.
There are no exceptions to these requirements.
The Attorney General’s Office hopes that the opinion will provide helpful guidance to the Grays Harbor County Commission as it seeks to abide by the law in carrying out this important duty.
Attorneys general sue U.S. Fidelis for deceptive business practices
In April 2010, Washington and 11 other states sued the business and its owners over U.S. Fidelis’ deceptive solicitations, illegal telemarketing, robo-calls and misleading TV ads. The states later agreed to settle claims against the owners in exchange for their agreement to turn over their assets to the bankruptcy estate.
Attorneys general increase refunds to consumers
Washington advocated for consumers during the bankruptcy process that resulted in creation of the Consumer Restitution Fund.
Because of the hard work of Washington and other states, every eligible claimant will receive a minimum of $250.
All U.S. Fidelis’ customers were provided restitution fund claim forms in 2012. Checks are going in the mail today to eligible consumers who filed claims. Those who didn’t already file a claim can still do so until January 2015.
Consumers can still file refund claims
The Consumer Restitution Fund will remain open until January 2015. Consumers who have unexpired contracts or money back guarantees, may still file claims. Other claims may be paid, if funds are available. No distribution, however, is guaranteed.
Consumers who have outstanding claims against U.S. Fidelis, and have questions about their claims, or whose contact information may have changed should contact Garden City Group by calling (877) 691-8477. Additional information about the settlement, including frequently asked questions can be found at www.usfbankruptcy.com.
Service contract purchase tips
The AGO recommends consumers follow these tips when considering purchase of a vehicle service contract.
· Insist on seeing a copy of the contract before you make a purchase, if possible.
· Read the contract in detail to see what is covered and what is not. Most industry experts recommend that you purchase an automotive service contract that is exclusionary (lists what isn’t covered), rather than inclusionary (lists what is covered).
· Understand what typical repairs there may be for your vehicle, and what they cost. This will help ensure you buy a vehicle service contract that is right for you and right for your car.
· Beware of contracts that come with a product you must put into your vehicle. You may be buying a vehicle protection product warranty that does not come with any refund rights and may have extremely limited repair rights.
· Check that the marketing company and business providing contract services are registered with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner and are compliant with Washington laws at http://www.insurance.wa.gov/consumertoolkit/search.aspx.