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Hill v. Murphy

SEPTEMBER 12, 1973.

JOHN HILL ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

MORGAN MURPHY ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. EDWARD J. EGAN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE JOHNSON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied October 16, 1973.

This is an appeal from the order dismissing the petition for a writ of mandamus and injunctive relief pendente lite on the grounds that it fails to state a cause of action and is moot as alleged in defendants' motion to strike and dismiss.

The court found:

1. That the 1972 budget of the City of Chicago had been passed into law by the City Council of the City of Chicago.

2. That the relief sought by plaintiffs in their complaint is moot.

3. That as a matter of law section 42 of the Meetings of Public Agencies Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 102, sec. 42) does not apply to defendants as members of the Police Board of the City of Chicago when they review, approve and submit to the budget director the annual budget of the police department pursuant to section 3-7-3, of the Illinois Municipal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 24, sec. 3-7-3.1).

The issues presented for review are:

1. Whether this case is moot, since the budget for 1972 has been enacted into law and the money spent.

2. Whether the Meetings of Public Agencies Act applies to the budgetary activities of the Chicago Police Board.

The trial judge dismissed this case on the ground of mootness. He noted that what was before him was a mandamus proceeding and that "the simple rule of mandamus is that it cannot be used to undo what has already been done."

This action was not filed until November 17, 1971. The hearing on the defendants' motion to strike and dismiss was not held until January 13, 1972. The judgment appealed from was entered January 14, 1972.

The plaintiffs' petition sought a writ of mandamus and injunctive relief pendente lite to compel the defendant members of the Police Board of the City of Chicago "to discuss, review, approve and submit the Chicago Police Department's budget for 1972 at meetings open to the public at large."

Section 7-19 of the Municipal Code of Chicago, Illinois, clearly requires the city comptroller "on or before the first day of December of each year preceding the year for which the estimates are made" to submit to the city council his report of the estimates of all city officials and heads of departments of the funds that will be required to carry on the operations of their respective offices and departments during the ensuing calendar year. Obviously, the estimate of the police department of its financial needs during the coming year had to be in the hands of the city comptroller at a reasonable period of time before December 1, 1971, so that the comptroller would be able to intelligently incorporate it into his own report. The hearing before the trial judge did not occur until more than six weeks after the defendants were required by law to act and did act. By the time the judgment order appealed from was entered on January 14, 1972, the informational report of the city comptroller had been filed with the city council; the mayor, with the assistance of the budget director had, pursuant to section 3-11-8 of the Ill. Municipal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 24, sec. 3-11-8), submitted the proposed budget to the city council; public hearings thereon had been held before the finance committee of the city council; the budget had been publicly ...


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