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People v. Civil Service Commission

NOVEMBER 20, 1969.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. CHARLES S. DOUGHERTY, Judge, presiding. Reversed.


This is an appeal from a writ of mandamus ordering the Chicago Civil Service Commission to certify, and the Superintendent of Police of the City of Chicago to appoint Edward Ryan to the position of patrolman in the Chicago Police Department.

On May 2, 1966, Ryan was certified as patrolman after passing the requisite civil service requirements. He was not appointed, however, and in June 1966 he was called before the commission to show cause why his certification should not be disapproved. At the hearing a report was read from the police department rejecting him as being physically unfit and requesting that he be removed from the list of persons eligible for patrolmen. The report disclosed that Ryan was classified by the United States Selective Service System as being available only in time of national emergency because he did not meet the armed services' physical standards; the report also stated that he had been examined by the Chief Surgeon of the Police Department and rejected because of bone chips in both knees. Ryan testified that he previously had a disability in his knees but that it had been corrected; he produced a letter from a doctor supporting his testimony. The commission informed him that before he could be considered for the patrolman's position he would have to be reclassified by the Selective Service as physically fit for military service.

Ryan's draft classification was changed and he subsequently received a letter from the commission saying that his certification had been approved.

Soon after this, Ryan was informed by the police department that he would not be appointed and that another request would be made to the commission for disapproval of his certification. At the suggestion of the chief surgeon of the department he was examined by other physicians. He was again notified to appear before the commission to show cause why his certification should not be disapproved and at this second hearing, which was held in October 1966, the commission read a letter from the police department stating that Ryan had been examined by two physicians who reported that he had a defect in his knees. One of the physicians was of the opinion that the condition might ultimately require surgery. Ryan produced another letter by the same doctor who had previously supported his position which said that he was physically fit, and that there was no reasonable indication that surgery would be needed.

In November Ryan was notified that the commission had entered an order disapproving his certification. He thereupon filed a two-count complaint seeking, in the alternative, a reversal under the Administrative Review Act (Ill Rev Stats 1965, c 110, par 264 et seq.) or the issuance of a writ of mandamus. The defendants moved to strike the administrative review count on the ground that Ryan had failed to file his complaint within the time provided in the Act, and moved to strike the mandamus count on the ground that his only available remedy was by way of administrative review. The trial court denied the first motion but granted the second. Later, the court reversed itself, reinstated the mandamus count and ordered that a writ issue directing the Civil Service Commission and the Superintendent of Police to take all necessary steps to appoint Ryan to duty as a patrolman.

[1-4] Ryan was foreclosed from prosecuting his administrative review action because he did not file his complaint within 35 days of the commission's final decision as the Administrative Review Act provides; furthermore, his complaint in mandamus and the court's writ were inappropriately directed against the commission. The commission operates under the Administrative Review Act (Ill Rev Stats 1965, c 24, § 10-1-45) and it is the exclusive means of reviewing the commission's decisions. Section 2 of the Act (Ill Rev Stats 1965, c 110, par 265) states:

"In all such cases, any other statutory equitable or common law mode of review of decisions of administrative agencies heretofore available shall not be employed. . . ."

Ryan counters this statute with the Mandamus Act (Ill Rev Stats 1965, c 87) section 9 of which provides:

"The proceedings for a writ of Mandamus shall not be dismissed nor the writ denied because the petitioner may have another specific legal remedy, where such writ will afford a proper and sufficient remedy. . . ."

This provision is not applicable to administrative decisions. The Administrative Review Act was designed to provide a single uniform method by which the administrative decisions of State governmental agencies could be judicially reviewed. People ex rel. Chicago & N.W. Ry. Co. v. Hulman, 31 Ill.2d 166, 201 N.E.2d 103 (1964); Moline Tool Co. v. Department of Revenue, 410 Ill. 35, 101 N.E.2d 71 (1951). It expressly prohibits the use of pre-existing modes of review, such as mandamus, and has been consistently so interpreted. People ex rel. United Motor Coach Co. v. Carpentier, 17 Ill.2d 303, 161 N.E.2d 97 (1959); People ex rel. Dever v. Wilson, 107 Ill. App.2d 223, 246 N.E.2d 863 (1969); People ex rel. Fike v. Slaughter, 31 Ill. App.2d 175, 175 N.E.2d 585 (1961).

Ryan further argues that the Civil Service Commission lacked authority to conduct a second examination as to his physical qualifications and that mandamus was, therefore, the correct method to question the commission's jurisdiction. He cites the following provision of section 10-1-8, chapter 24, Ill Rev Stats (1965):

"In the event that any applicant for an office or place in the civil service (who has been found eligible for appointment . . .) has not been appointed to such office or place within 60 days from the date of his examination as to physical qualifications and health, the commission shall cause a second examination to be made of such applicant prior to his appointment and within 60 days of such appointment, which second examination shall be practical in character and shall relate to the cardiac, pulmonary, arterial, renal and sane condition of the applicant."

The contentions in support of this argument are that his second examination was not held within the sixty-day period provided in the statute and was not restricted to his "cardiac, pulmonary, arterial, renal and sane condition." Both contentions are without merit. The statute applies only to examinations conducted ...

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