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The People v. Public Building Com.





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. WILLIAM J. TUOHY, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied May 20, 1957.

This appeal brings before us a quo warrantor proceeding instituted in the circuit court of Cook County to challenge the constitutionality of the Public Building Commission Act, (Laws of 1955, pp. 905-920,) and certain companion legislation. The action was filed voluntarily by the State's Attorney of Cook County in the name of the People of Illinois, and named as defendants the Public Building Commission of Chicago and its individual members who are functioning under authority of the act. Defendants tested the sufficiency of the complaint by a motion to strike and, after a hearing, the court found the legislation to be constitutional, granted the motion and dismissed the cause. Plaintiff elected to stand on his complaint and this appeal has followed. During the pendency of the cause the circuit court permitted several municipal bodies to intervene as amici curiae for the purpose of presenting their arguments in support of the legislation under attack. These intervenors, who have also joined in the briefs of defendants-appellees in this court, are the city and county of Peoria, the city and Public Building Commission of Springfield, the Public Building Commission of Waukegan and Lake County, the Greater Joliet Committee, Inc., and the Illinois Municipal League.

The Public Building Commission Act was adopted by the 69th General Assembly and approved on July 5, 1955. In section 2 thereof, (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1955, chap. 34, par. 257,) the legislature found and declared that in many county seats governmental bodies are operating in outmoded buildings and facilities no longer adapted or adequate to meet present day needs; that counties, cities and other agencies of government are compelled to spend large sums of money annually for the rental, operation and maintenance of additional building space; that the result has been a decentralization and scattering of governmental agencies which has made for confusion, waste and inefficiency; and that valuable public records, documents and vital statistics are stored and kept in dangerous, overcrowded and inadequate buildings. Based upon such findings, section 2 goes on to declare that the construction, acquisition and enlargement of building facilities is necessary for the purpose of centralizing governmental activities and eliminating dangerous, uneconomical and inefficient conditions, and that "the eradication of these conditions and the construction, acquisition or enlargement of such public building or buildings, in the manner hereinafter provided in this Act, is hereby declared to be a public use essential to the public interest."

To effectuate the declared public purpose, the balance of the act provides for the creation of public building commissions and fixes their powers and duties. Section 4 states there shall be but one commission in any county and sets forth the steps necessary to effect incorporation. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1955, chap. 34, par. 259.) Section 5, in turn, provides that a commission shall consist of an odd number of commissioners of not less than five; that a municipality which is a county seat shall appoint a number of commissioners equal to the number of commissioners of all participating municipalities, plus one; that where the county seat alone organizes the commission the presiding officer of the county seat shall appoint all commissioners; and that the board is a rotating board. (Par. 260.)

Control and management of the affairs of the commission is provided for in section 8, (par. 263) which states, in part, as follows: "Said Board of Commissioners shall have full power to pass all necessary ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations for the proper management and conduct of the business of said Board of Commissioners and of said Public Building Commission and for carrying into effect the object for which such Public Building Commission is created." Implementing the provisions as to control and management are sections 9, 10 and 11, (Pars. 264, 265 and 266,) which relate to quorum, records and the duties and responsibilities of the treasurer.

Authority is given to the board of commissioners by section 12 (par. 267), to employ technical, professional and clerical assistants as necessary, and provision is also made for the loan of employees from participating municipalities in the following manner:

"For the purpose of aiding and cooperating with a Public Building Commission, the municipal corporations participating in its organization may assign or loan any of their employees, whether under Civil Service or not, to the Public Building Commission to aid in the performance of any of the work of the Public Building Commission, and may provide necessary office space, equipment or other facilities for the Public Building Commission.

"Any such employees so assigned or loaned who are member[s] or beneficiaries of any existing pension or retirement system or who have been appointed to positions in the service of such participating municipal corporations under rules and classifications of any Civil Service Commission shall have the same status with respect thereto after assignment to the Public Building Commission.

"To facilitate the Public Building Commission in aid of any project undertaken by it any municipal corporation joining in its organization may make available to the Public Building Commission the services of its engineering staff and facilities."

Section 13 (par. 268,) makes provision that since the act is designed to effect a public use and purpose, any municipal corporation "which may be desirous of renting space" in any building of the commission, "may make donations of property, real or personal, or cash grants to the Public Building Commission in such amount or amounts as they may deem proper and appropriate in aiding the Public Building Commission to effectuate the purpose for its creation."

The status and powers of the commission are outlined in section 14 (par. 269,) which states that the commission shall be a separate municipal corporation, with the power to sue and be sued, and to make, amend or repeal its bylaws. The section further provides the commission shall have the express and incidental powers necessary to carry out the following public and essential governmental functions:

(a) To select, locate and designate a contiguous area "wholly within the territorial limits of the county seat" as the location for its improvements.

(b) To acquire in fee simple streets, alleys and other public places and personal property "by purchase, gift, devise, or by the exercise of the power of eminent domain."

(c) To demolish, repair, alter or improve buildings and facilities, furnish and equip the same.

(d) To pave and improve streets, construct and repair sidewalks, sewers, water pipes and similar ...

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