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Harney v. Cahill

MARCH 11, 1965.

JAMES P. HARNEY, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

WILLIAM E. CAHILL, EARL E. STRAYHORN, AND REGINALD DUBOIS, MEMBERS OF AND CONSTITUTING THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, BENJAMIN C. WILLIS, GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, AND ROY C. PALMER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES AND INTERVENING DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



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

MR. JUSTICE SULLIVAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

This is an action for declaratory judgment brought to secure a declaration of rights concerning the legality of promotional and original examinations held contemporaneously for the position of Engineer Custodian II in the Board of Education of Chicago. The case was tried before the trial court, without a jury, and the court entered an order finding the issues in favor of the defendants and intervening petitioners, and against the plaintiffs. This appeal is taken from said order.

In support of their appeal, plaintiffs contend that (1) the Civil Service Commission violated its rules by adding ten gratuitous points to the mark for correct answers received by the applicants in the written portion of the examinations for Engineer Custodian II; (2) that the candidates in the promotional examination, including the plaintiffs, were not marked on the basis of 100 in the efficiency portion of the examination as required by the rules of the Civil Service Commission, and (3) that the Civil Service Commission violated its rules by holding the original examination at the same time as the promotional examination.

The defendants and intervening petitioners filed a motion in this court to dismiss the appeal by reason of lack of jurisdiction in that the questions and issues presented are now moot and abstract. The motion was taken by this court and the defendants and intervening petitioners have in their briefs again asserted this point.

The facts are these: On August 14, 1961, Benjamin C. Willis, General Superintendent of Schools, requested the Chicago Civil Service Commission to call an original and promotional examination for Engineer Custodian II. On September 20, 1961, the Civil Service Commission issued Examination Announcement No. 442, for a Promotional Examination for Engineer Custodian II, advising that the examination would be held November 4, 1961, and that the scope of the examination would be Duties 60%, Efficiency 30%, Seniority 10%. It indicated as eligible for promotion all persons employed as school firemen (Board of Education), who had served the required probationary period of six months. It also announced an Original Entrance Examination for Engineer Custodian II, to be held on the same date, with the scope of Examination being Duties 60% and Education and Experience 40%, and it set forth a summary of the duties of the position in question. The announcement further indicated that a stationary engineer's license was required.

Both the original and promotional written examinations were held at the same time at the Wells High School, but in different rooms. The written examinations consisted of 100 multiple choice questions, and the candidate would place a pencil mark before one of four suggested answers. The answer sheet was marked in an IBM scoring machine, in which a scoring mark was placed over the answer sheet and the correct answers electronically recorded.

After the answers were scored, and before the identities of the candidates were known, it was determined by Mr. Charles Pounian, personnel officer for the Chicago Civil Service Commission, that there would be insufficient candidates attaining a general average of 70 in the examination as a whole to meet the requirements of the Board of Education. Taking into consideration the distribution and range of scores in the written examination, an estimated average efficiency and seniority mark, the difficulty of the questions, the personnel requirements of the Board of Education, and the fact that there was no set or absolute passing grade for the written portion of the examination, Mr. Pounian decided that by adding 10 points to the raw scores of all candidates there would be a sufficient number of qualified candidates attaining the general average of 70 in the examination taken as a whole to meet the requirements of the board, and he made a recommendation to the commission accordingly. On January 10, 1962, the Civil Service Commission entered an order in its minutes, as follows:

"ORDERED, that in the examination for ENGINEER CUSTODIAN II, #6602, Promotional, Grade PR, held November 4, 1961, the subject duties be scored as follows: 10 points to be added to the total number of correct answers.

"ORDERED, that in the examination for ENGINEER CUSTODIAN II, #6603, Original, Grade PR, held on November 4, 1961, the subject duties be scored as follows: 10 points to be added to the total number of correct answers."

The examinations were marked as follows:

The efficiency portion of the promotional examination was marked according to the efficiency markings submitted to the Civil Service Commission by the Board of Education for the six month period from January 1, 1961, to June 30, 1961. Monthly efficiency sheets were made out by the Engineer Custodians on forms supplied by the Bureau of Plant Engineering, and these forms were submitted to the Director of Plant Engineering. In addition, a civil service performance rating was filled out for the six month period on each of the five traits referred to in the Civil Service Commission Performance Rating Guide. Each of the plaintiffs received a grade of 85, which was the highest grade given for efficiency. An example as to plaintiff Motkowicz is shown below:

"Trait Grade ----------------------------------------------- Quality of Work 85 Quantity of Work 85 Dependability 85 Personal Relationships 85 Attendance and promptness 85 ____ Total 425

Divide the above total by 5. THE FINAL GRADE IS 85"

The seniority portion of the promotional examination was marked pursuant to section 3 of Rule V of the Rules of the Civil Service Commission. The duties portion was identical for both the original and promotional examination and was made up of 100 multiple choice questions. In scoring the duties portion of both examinations, 10 points were added to the raw scores achieved by all candidates. The education and work experience portion of the original examination was marked according to a standard extablished by the Civil Service Commission. This standard provided for a maximum of 100 points on this subject, based upon degree of education, experience, and ownership of a stationary engineer's license.

The final averages of candidates in both the original and promotional examinations were determined by multiplying the markings given in each subject by the weight assigned thereto; the products thus attained were added and the resulting sum was divided by the sum of the weights. The method of computing the final average is shown by the following illustrations, the first containing a breakdown of the marks received by Charles T. Riggs, No. 1 on the promotional list, and the ...


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