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Bruno v. Civil Service Commission

NOVEMBER 7, 1962.

LOUIS BRUNO AND PROSPER PINTOZZI, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, WILLIAM E. CAHILL, EARL E. STRAYHORN AND REGINALD DUBOIS, COMMISSIONERS OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, LLOYD M. JOHNSON, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF STREETS AND SANITATION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, AND DEPARTMENT OF STREETS AND SANITATION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JULIAN P. WILAMOSKI, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE MCCORMICK DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

This appeal is taken from a judgment order of the Circuit Court of Cook County, entered in a suit brought under the Administrative Review Act (Ill Rev Stats, c 110, §§ 264-279), sustaining the findings and decision of the Civil Service Commission discharging two laborers employed by the City of Chicago.

The charges brought before the Civil Service Commission stated that Louis Bruno and Prosper Pintozzi, (who were the plaintiffs in the case before us and will be hereinafter referred to as the plaintiffs), had on several occasions during the year 1959, the exact dates of which were unknown to the relator at the time the charges were brought, been guilty of conduct unbecoming an employee of the City of Chicago in that they received, accepted and held "checks and the benefits therefrom" of the City of Chicago in excess of the compensation due them for the periods of employment which the checks were intended to cover, and failed and neglected to notify their superiors of such errors. The plaintiffs here contend that the findings and decision of the Civil Service Commission were against the manifest weight of the evidence and that the Civil Service Commission erred in not sustaining the plaintiffs' motions to quash and dismiss the charges.

From the evidence it appears that Pintozzi is 55 years old, married, and has four children. He came from Italy to America in 1924 and started to work for the city in 1952 as a laborer with the Department of Streets and Sanitation, in the Bureau of Electricity. Bruno was 25 years old, married, and has one child. He had three years' high school education. He had worked at various occupations and for various companies in Chicago. He had been employed by the City of Chicago for two years as a laborer. Both plaintiffs had civil service status. The plaintiffs were assigned to work gangs. The foreman of a work gang makes out a daily time sheet indicating the time each man under his control has worked. These daily time sheets are transmitted to the timekeeping division of the Bureau of Electricity at the end of each work day. The timekeeping division then transcribes the time from the foreman's daily time sheet to a semimonthly time accumulation sheet from which the final payroll is compiled in the office of the comptroller for the City of Chicago.

Le Blanc, the foreman of the work gang to which the plaintiffs were assigned in 1959, testified that he had recorded the daily time of the plaintiffs along with the other laborers in his gang, and sent in these daily time sheets in accordance with the ordinary procedure above referred to. In December 1959 the City of Chicago engaged an accounting firm to make an audit of the payrolls of the department. The audit was under the direction of Alvin M. Seavey, a certified public accountant since 1936 with over thirty years of accounting experience. He testified that the semimonthly time accumulation sheets were checked against the foreman's daily time sheets and that in many instances the semimonthly accumulation sheets showed that the timekeepers had credited the plaintiffs with working on days which the daily time sheets indicated that they had not worked. There were also several occasions where the timekeepers incorrectly extended the number of days worked by the plaintiffs. These errors in transcription were responsible for the following overpayments:

Received by Received Period Pintozzi by Bruno

January 1 to 15, 1959 $ 66.60 January 15 to 31, 1959 $ 16.80 February 15 to 28, 1959 22.20 March 1 to 15, 1959 22.20 March 15 to 31, 1959 44.40 April 1 to 15, 1959 22.20 April 15 to 30, 1959 44.40 May 1 to 15, 1959 44.40 June 1 to 15, 1959 36.08 June 15 to 30, 1959 44.40 July 1 to 15, 1959 44.40 44.40 July 15 to 31, 1959 24.20 August 1 to 15, 1959 48.40 48.40 September 1 to 15, 1959 48.40 121.00 September 15 to 30, 1959 72.60 October 1 to 15, 1959 48.40 October 15 to 31, 1959 48.40 November 1 to 15, 1959 96.80 72.60 November 15 to 30, 1959 48.40 48.40 December 1 to 15, 1959 24.20 72.60 _______ _______ Total $802.68 $472.60 The checks covering the respective periods were introduced. These overpayments and the fact that the plaintiffs did not perform any services for the payments listed above were confirmed by the plaintiffs' foreman, Le Blanc.

Both the plaintiffs were present at the hearing and represented by counsel.

Pintozzi testified that the pay periods ran from the 1st to the 15th, and from the 16th to the end of the month. He identified all of the checks which were introduced, and testified that most of them were endorsed by his wife, though some of them were endorsed by him; that he did not see any of the checks before the question of overpayment was raised; that his wife would only talk over the amount of the checks which were low; and that he knew there was attached to each payroll check a stub which specified the days, but not the hours, which he had worked. The basic pay which he would receive for an eight-hour day was $22.20. He also stated that in the year 1959 he was overpaid $800.

Bruno testified in his own behalf that during the years 1958 and 1959 he was absent from his job a few times because of sickness but he did not know whether he was allowed any sick leave or not. He testified that he never figured the amount of his checks and never had occasion to figure that he was underpaid; that he never kept a record of the number of hours he worked in a day, but it would be about eight; that the first time he knew that they were being overpaid was when they were taken off the job and brought down to the office of a city official.

Both Pintozzi and Bruno testified that they had not been asked to refund the money, but stated that they were willing to refund it. Bruno testified that most of his checks were endorsed by his wife and placed in a savings account, and that she never questions him about the amount of the paychecks, and he does not know whether he was overpaid $472.60 or not. He stated he did not take time out to check it.

After hearing on June 1, 1960 the Civil Service Commission found that the Commissioner of the Department of Streets and Sanitation of the City of Chicago had filed charges with the Civil Service Commission against Pintozzi and Bruno, that they were guilty of "conduct unbecoming an employee of the City of Chicago," and that these charges were proved. The Civil Service Commission found, among other things, that each of the plaintiffs for a long time prior to December 15, 1959 had received compensation for work they did not perform, and failed to report such overpayments to their superiors although they knew, or should have known, that they were not entitled to such additional compensation, and that ...


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