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Department of Reg. & Educ. v. Aman

OPINION FILED JANUARY 26, 1973.

THE DEPARTMENT OF REGISTRATION AND EDUCATION, APPELLEE,

v.

JAMES A. AMAN ET AL., APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from the Appellate Court for Fourth District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Sagamon County; the Hon. HOWARD L. WHITE, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

On July 11, 1969, plaintiff, the Department of Registration and Education, issued to defendant, James A. Aman, a notice of suspension, in which it was stated that he was suspended from the position of Professional License Investigator pending filing of formal charges with the Director of Personnel, seeking his discharge. On August 11, 1969, the Department of Personnel approved defendant's discharge. Defendant requested a hearing before the Civil Service Commission; the hearing officer who heard the matter recommended that defendant be discharged; and the Civil Service Commission overruled its hearing officer's recommendation and ordered that defendant be retained in his position. Plaintiff filed an action in the circuit court of Sangamon County under the Administrative Review Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 110, par. 264 et seq.), defendant moved to dismiss the cause, and upon allowance of the motion the circuit court entered judgment in favor of defendant. Plaintiff appealed, the appellate court reversed (3 Ill. App.2d 784), and we allowed defendant's petition for leave to appeal.

The appeal presents the single question of whether the plaintiff may seek administrative review of a decision of the Civil Service Commission.

Defendant's contention is that the plaintiff, as an administrative agency of the State, had no "standing" to seek review of the order of another administrative agency. Plaintiff contends that section 11a of the Personnel Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 127, par. 63b 111a) provides for administrative review of all decisions of the Civil Service Commission and the plaintiff, therefore, had standing to institute the action for administrative review.

Section 11a (par. 63b 111a) provides:

"Sec. 11a. All final administrative decisions of the Civil Service Commission hereunder shall be subject to judicial review pursuant to the provisions of the `Administrative Review Act', approved May 8, 1945, as heretofore or hereafter amended. The term `administrative decision' is defined as in Section 1 of the `Administrative Review Act.'"

We question whether the fact that the statute provides for the review of "All administrative decisions" is relevant to the issue of whether plaintiff has standing to bring the action. The Administrative Review Act provides in pertinent part:

"This Act shall apply to and govern every action to review judicially a final decision of any administrative agency where the Act creating or conferring power on such agency, by express reference, adopts the provisions of this Act." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 110, par. 265.)

With minor variations, not here relevant, the provisions for administrative review are in the form of either paragraph 11a of the Personnel Code, or one of the following:

"Judicial review. A person affected by a final administrative decision of the Department may seek review only under the `Administrative Review Act', as now and hereafter amended. The `Administrative Review Act' and the rules adopted pursuant to it govern proceedings for the judicial review of final administrative decisions of the Department. The term `administrative decision' means an administrative decision as defined in the `Administrative Review Act.'" Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 10 4/5, par. 119.

"Administrative review. The provisions of the `Administrative Review Act,' approved May 8, 1945, and all amendments and modifications thereof, and the rules adopted pursuant thereto, shall apply to and govern all proceedings for the judicial review of final administrative decisions of the board provided for under this Article. The term `administrative decision' is defined as in Section 1 of said `Administrative Review Act.'" Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 108 1/2, par. 18-164.

Language identical to paragraph 11a is found in legislative enactments where the only agency involved is the one empowered to make the final decision from which administrative review may be sought (e.g., Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 10 1/2, par. 13f; ch, 37, par. 760.6), and obviously does not give it standing to seek review of its own decisions.

We have examined the authorities cited by the parties, many of which are discussed in the appellate court opinion, and conclude that because of the clearly distinguishable statutory provisions involved they are of little precedential value.

We agree with the appellate court that there is no constitutional principle which prevents a governmental agency from seeking administrative review of the decision of another agency. The great diversity in the statutory provisions creating or conferring power upon administrative agencies does not permit universal application of a rule, and in each instance the question must be determined by the pertinent statutory provisions, the relationship which ...


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