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Featured Inquiry (08/06/09)Reviewed: 12/13

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Question:

Who may administer the oath of office?

Answer:

RCW 29A.04.133 provides that an oath or affirmation "shall be administered and certified by any officer or notary public who administers oaths, without charge therefore." A notary public is clearly authorized to administer oaths as are judicial officers and city clerks (except in a second class city).

Persons specifically authorized by statute to administer oaths include:

Notary public - RCW 5.28.010; RCW 42.44.010(2)
Court commissioner - RCW 2.24.040(10)
Court of justice judicial officer - RCW 2.28.010(7)
Every judicial officer (as defined in RCW 2.28.030 - RCW 2.28.060(4)
Every court, judge, clerk of the court, justice of the peace - RCW 5.28.010
District Court Clerks - RCW 3.54.020(4)
Municipal Court Clerk or Deputy Clerk in Cities over 400,000 - RCW 35.20.210
County auditor or deputy auditor - RCW 36.22.030
County commissioner or council member - RCW 36.32.120(9)
Mayor of a code city - RCW 35A.21.030
Mayor and Mayor Pro Tempore of a second class city - RCW 35.23.191
Mayor of a town - RCW 35.27.160
Clerk of a code city - RCW 35A.21.030
Clerk of a city operating under commission form of government - RCW 35.17.105
Clerk of a town and deputy clerk - RCW 35.27.220

RCW 35A.21.030 provides that every officer of a code city has all duties of his or her office which are imposed by state law on officers of every other class of city who occupy a like position and perform like functions. Therefore, code city officers could undertake similar tasks performed by like officers in other classifications of cities, including administering oaths.

Chapter 5.28 RCW governs oaths and affirmations generally, including how administered and variations on the form of the oath or affirmation.

Additionally, nothing under state law requires that the swearing in of an official be done in an open, regular council meeting.

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