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People Ex Rel. Jacques v. Sheehan

NOVEMBER 20, 1961.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THOS. E. KLUCZYNSKI, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.


Defendant Commissioners appeal from an order directing that a writ of mandamus issue, commanding them "to take all steps necessary" to accord relator, Leo H. Jacques, the benefit of his correct Board of Education efficiency mark, which was received by the Commissioners after a promotional eligible list had been posted.

No questions are raised on the pleadings. The basic facts are not in dispute, and it is not charged that there is any impropriety, collusion or fraud by anyone. The principal question for review is whether the trial court committed error by compelling the Commission to recognize and to give effect to Jacques' correct efficiency mark, after the promotional eligible list had been posted.

On December 8, 1956, Jacques, a junior auditor in the classified service of the Board of Education since January 6, 1947, took a promotional examination for the position of Assistant Chief Accountant, which position he was then holding as a temporary appointee. The rules of the Civil Service Commission of the City of Chicago prescribe the scope of the examination as "Duties 6, Efficiency 3, and Seniority 1." Each factor was used in arriving at the final general average for each applicant.

For Jacques, the Commission used an efficiency mark of 85, which had been reported to it in a letter from the Board of Education, dated August 16, 1957. The final general average awarded Jacques was 69.7. As an over-all average of 70% was required to be placed on the eligible list, the promotional eligible list published on August 21, 1957, did not include Jacques.

Subsequent to the posting of the list and after the receipt of a breakdown of his marks, Jacques was informed by his supervisor that, for the period involved, he had received an efficiency mark of 87.5 and not the mark of 85, as reported to the Commission. If the mark of 87.5 for efficiency had been used in computing the final general average for Jacques, he would have received a passing grade of 70.45 for the examination, and would have been entitled to placement upon the eligible list and to receipt of additional credits for military service.

Thereafter, to rectify the error, a letter, dated September 12, 1957, was sent by the Board of Education to the Civil Service Commission, stating that "Mr. Jacques' record for efficiency for the period July 1, 1955 to December 31, 1955 was, and is, 87.5%. His standing for the examination of Assistant Chief Accountant should be changed accordingly." However, the Civil Service Commission did not make the change, and Jacques filed this mandamus action.

The cause was heard on the complaint, answer and reply. Exhibits received in evidence include the Board of Education letter of August 16, 1957, which reported the efficiency mark of 85, and the subsequent letter dated September 12, 1957, reporting plaintiff's correct efficiency mark as 87.5. The only testimony was that of the secretary of the Civil Service Commission, who testified that upon receipt of the letter stating that Jacques' correct efficiency mark was 87.5, he took the matter up with the Board, "but they denied it because the list was published." After hearing arguments of counsel and discussion of the law, the court directed that the writ of mandamus issue.

Initially, defendants contend that the Commission is required to comply with its rules and regulations. People ex rel. Bergquist v. Gregory (1949), 337 Ill. App. 661, 86 N.E.2d 434; Cartan v. Gregory (1946), 329 Ill. App. 307, 68 N.E.2d 193; People ex rel. Fleming v. Geary (1944), 322 Ill. App. 338, 54 N.E.2d 247.

Rule V, Section 4 of the Civil Service Rules, provides in part:

"Section 4. Efficiency. Records of efficiency of appointees in the classified service shall be ascertained by the Commission in such manner as it may determine as evidenced by its action and may include reports derived from heads of departments or bureaus or from investigations made by the Commission. . . ."

Regulation XII of the Civil Service Regulations of Procedure provides:

"The rating of the efficiency markings of any competitor in any promotional examination shall be in such manner as the Commission may determine with respect to such examination, and upon the posting of a promotional eligible list based upon such examination the action of the Commission with reference to the efficiency markings for that examination shall be conclusive evidence of such determination."

Defendants argue that the efficiency mark of 85 must stand, because it is the mark reported by plaintiff's department head and used by the Civil Service Commission in preparing and posting the promotional eligible list (Rule V, Section 4); and that such efficiency mark is conclusive evidence of such ...

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