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Mason v. Cutkomp

OCTOBER 9, 1957.

HORACE F. MASON ET AL., PETITIONERS-APPELLANTS,

v.

KING CUTKOMP AND THEODORE N. MORRISON, OBJECTORS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Rock Island county; the Hon. LEONARD E. TELLEEN, Judge, presiding. Decree affirmed.

JUSTICE SOLFISBURG DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Rehearing denied December 31, 1957.

This is a statutory proceeding arising under Section 20-13 and Section 19-59 of the Revised Cities and Villages Act (S.H.A. Ch. 24, Section 20-13 and Section 19-59). Over 1900 electors of the city of Rock Island, Illinois, filed their petition on November 9, 1956, asking for an election on the question of abandoning the managerial form of municipal government, sometimes known as the city manager form of government. On November 14, 1956, objections were filed to the petition, the principal objection being that the petition was prematurely filed since it was filed before the expiration of four years of operation of managerial government in Rock Island.

The petition and the objections came on for hearing before the Honorable Leonard E. Telleen, Judge of the Circuit Court of Rock Island county, pursuant to Section 19-59 of the Revised Cities and Villages Act, and the court held that the petition had been prematurely filed, and was, therefore, insufficient. From that decree, in the nature of a decree in chancery, the petitioners have appealed to this court.

The sole issue in this case is the sufficiency of the petition in question. Authority for the petition must be found in Section 20-13 of the Revised Cities and Villages Act previously referred to. Accordingly, the precise question before us is whether Section 20-13 permits the filing of a petition of this kind before the municipality has had a full four years of city manager government.

Section 20-13 of the Revised Cities and Villages Act (S.H.A. Ch. 24, Section 20-13) provides in pertinent part:

"Sec. 20-13. Abandonment of managerial form

"Any city or village which has operated for four years or more under the Managerial Form of Municipal Government may abandon such organization in the manner herein provided. When a petition therefor signed by electors of the municipality equal in number to at least 10% of the number of votes cast for candidates for mayor at the preceding general quadrennial municipal election is filed with the city or village clerk (or with such officer as may perform the duties of such clerk with respect to elections) or with the board of election commissioners in cities and villages that have such boards, the following proposition shall be submitted at the next municipal election to be held at least 60 days after the filing of such petition: `Shall the city (or village) of . . . . . . . . . . . . abandon the Managerial Form of Municipal Government?' The petition specified in this section shall be in the same form, its sufficiency shall be determined in the same manner, the election hereunder shall be ordered and conducted, and the results declared, as provided in Sections 19-58 to 19-60, inclusive, of this Act, in so far as they may be applicable.

"If the proposition for abandonment is approved, such city or village shall become subject to the provisions of Article 9 or of Article 19, whichever article was in force in such city or village immediately prior to the adoption of the plan authorized by this Article, except as otherwise hereafter provided in this Article.

"Upon the election and qualification of officers to be elected at the next succeeding general municipal election which officers shall be those prescribed by Articles 9 or 19 of this Act, as the case may be, but such change shall not in any manner or degree affect the property rights or liabilities of such city or village . . .

"The proposition to abandon the Managerial Form of Municipal Government shall not be submitted in any city or village oftener than once in four years. 1941. Aug. 15, Laws 1941, vol. 2, P. 19, Par. 20-13, added 1951, July 9, Laws 1951, p. 1001, Sec. 1."

[1-4] The primary purpose of statutory construction is to ascertain the intention of the legislature, and in determining such intent courts will consider the language used, the evil to be remedied and the object to be attained, Jones v. Pebler, 371 Ill. 309, 311, 20 N.E.2d 592, 125 A.L.R. 451. The statute itself affords the best means of its exposition, and if the intent of the legislature can be ascertained from its provisions, such intent will prevail without resorting to other aids to construction, People ex rel. Blome v. Nudelman, 373 Ill. 220, 25 N.E.2d 811. People v. West Side Trust and Savings Bank, 362 Ill. 607, 619. Where the language used in a statute is plain and unambiguous, there is no room for construction, Roth v. Kaptowsky, 401 Ill. 424, 430, 82 N.E.2d 661, 7 A.L.R.2d 674, Kinney v. County Board of School Trustees of LaSalle County, 7 Ill. App.2d 286, 294, 129 N.E.2d 292.

This case hinges on a proper construction of the first sentence of Section 20-13 of the Revised Cities and Villages Act which reads:

"Any city or village which has operated for four years or more under the Managerial Form of Municipal Government may abandon such ...


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