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Feeley v. O'connor

APRIL 9, 1958.

CATHERINE FEELEY, ET AL., APPELLEES,

v.

TIMOTHY J. O'CONNOR ET AL., APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Superior Court of Cook county; the Hon. DONALD S. McKINLAY, Judge, presiding. Reversed.

JUSTICE BRYANT DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Rehearing denied May 7, 1958.

This is an appeal from a declaratory judgment entered in the Superior Court of Cook county finding that the defendant Timothy J. O'Connor, Commissioner of Police of the city of Chicago, is without power or authority to order, direct or assign policewomen to perform the duties of matrons (police), or to integrate the duties of policewomen and matrons (police), or to assign matrons (police) to the performance of the duties of policewomen.

Plaintiffs filed their complaint on behalf of themselves as policewomen and as representatives of the class of policewomen in the classified civil service of the Police Department of the city of Chicago. They alleged the passage of an act to regulate the civil service of cities, and that the defendants William A. Lee, Albert W. Williams and John J. Ahern constituted, at the time of the filing of the complaint, the Civil Service Commission of the city of Chicago; that both policewoman and matron (police) are classified by the Civil Service Commission as being in Branch IV, Class S and Grade 3, indicating that Branch IV embraces positions relating to public safety, that Class S, Police Service, embraces positions in the active ranks of the police department and positions directly related to the performance of police duty, and that Grade 3 indicates certain specific positions in the above branch and class, and that for the year 1956 the appropriation ordinances passed by the City Council of the city of Chicago gave matrons (police) and policewomen exactly the same salaries, varying alike for each year of service. They also allege that matrons (police) are appointed by the mayor for a term of one year. They then charge that the defendant Commissioner of Police of the city of Chicago, without any authority of the City Council or of the Civil Service Commission of the city of Chicago, on January 3, 1957 entered a general order in regard to the rules and regulations of the Department of Police of the city of Chicago whereby all of the previous rules relating to matron lockup keeper and policewomen's section, were rescinded and new rules entered which created a Women's Bureau, consisting of policewomen and matrons (police), and provided for their duties, to include the duties heretofore assigned to matron lockup keeper and policewomen's section, and certain additional duties, and for the assignment of the personnel of the Women's Bureau, consisting of policewomen and matrons (police), to any of such duties. They further allege that as policewomen they cannot lawfully be assigned to do any of the duties of matrons (police). They further allege that although matrons (police) are of the same service, grade and class as policewomen, they do not have the same rank, and, because of that situation, matrons (police) are not eligible to take promotional examinations for police sergeants. Plaintiffs, policewomen of the city of Chicago, therefore prayed that the court adjudicate that the defendant Timothy J. O'Connor, Commissioner of the Police of Chicago, was without power to issue the order fixing the rules and regulations of the Department of Police creating a Women's Bureau and assigning thereto policewomen and matrons (police) and fixing the duties of such policewomen and matrons (police) as members of the Women's Bureau of the police of the city of Chicago, and that said defendant was without power to merge, amalgamate, consolidate or integrate policewomen and matrons (police) into a Women's Bureau and designate their duties under that bureau.

Thereafter, Timothy J. O'Connor, Commissioner of Police, William A. Lee, Albert W. Williams and John J. Ahern, Civil Service Commissioners of the city of Chicago, filed their motion to dismiss the complaint, urging that the court had no jurisdiction over the subject matter in that it has no power or authority to interfere in the administration of a public office; that it appears from the complaint that the plaintiffs are policewomen and as such are subject to all the duties pertaining to said position, which duties are inclusive of the duties heretofore performed by matrons (police), and that the court has no jurisdiction to determine whether the Commissioner of Police has properly assigned the duties of the police matrons.

Thereafter, Dolores Sheehan was by order of court substituted for defendant William A. Lee, she having been appointed to the Civil Service Commission in place of William A. Lee.

After a hearing upon the motion to dismiss, the court denied the motion and entered the declaratory judgment heretofore referred to.

It is to be noted that although the members of the Civil Service Commission of the city of Chicago are made parties defendant in this proceeding, the only relief granted by the declaratory judgment is directed to the Commissioner of Police of the city of Chicago, who is also a defendant, and that it attempts to define and limit his capacity to make rules and regulations in the administration of the department and the assignment of duties within that department.

It has been urged that there is a basic difference in the office of policewomen and matrons (police) in that sec. 9-51, art. 9, Cities and Villages Act (Ill. Rev. Stats. 1955, chap. 24), provides for the appointment by the mayor, subject to confirmation by the city council, of police matrons in cities having 16,000 or more inhabitants. It is to be noted that the section further provides that police matrons are to be appointed for the term of one year, and that in cities over 50,000 they need not be confirmed by the council; that they shall have charge of all female prisoners. From the context it is evident that the principal intent of the act was that females should be in charge of female prisoners.

The Department of Police of the city of Chicago is organized and authorized by the Municipal Code passed by the city council. The offices within the Police Department of the city of Chicago are created by chapter 11, section 2, of that code. That chapter and section, relating to the personnel of the police department, reads in part as follows:

"There are hereby created the offices of commissioner of police, . . . patrolwomen, . . . matrons, . . . . These . . . shall constitute the police force of the city."

It is to be noted that the city council does not create a position of policewomen, but of patrolwomen. Technically it might be said that there is no such office as policewomen, but both within the police department and in the Civil Service Commission, "policewomen" has been used as synonymous with "patrolwomen." Logically, of course, the term "policewomen" is a more generic term and would include any women engaged in police work. However, its other usage has been so long established that for the purpose of this opinion it may be considered that the term policewomen is used to mean, technically, the office of patrolwomen created by the ordinance of the city of Chicago. Since the office of patrolwomen and of matrons (police) are created by the same chapter and section of the Municipal Code of Chicago, and since both offices have been classified by the Civil Service Commission, it is clear that the tenure of both offices is the same and rests on the same bases. If the question were ever raised as to whether the city of Chicago in the creation of its police department had complied with the statutes of the State of Illinois in so far as it related to the creation of female personnel for the purpose of the protection of female prisoners, it could probably be successfully urged that chapter 11, section 2, which created the positions of patrolwomen and matrons (police), complied with that provision of the statute. But certainly in no other way are the rights of matrons (police), created by chapter 11, section 2 of the Municipal Code and classified by the Civil Service Commission of the city of Chicago, controlled or governed by sec. 9-51, art. 9, chap. 24, of the statute.

There being no difference in the manner in which the offices of policewomen and matrons (police) were created, no difference in the tenure, no difference in the salary and no difference in the classification under the Civil Service Commission, there remains to be considered only the question if there are any other rights in the positions which the plaintiffs hold which may limit the right of the Commissioner of Police to assign duties and to integrate and reorganize the Department of Police in so far as the women police personnel is ...


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