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Guzell v. Civil Service Com.

JANUARY 17, 1974.

LEONARD W. GUZELL, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. EDWARD F. HEALY, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE DEMPSEY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The plaintiff, Leonard Guzell, was employed for eight and one-half years in the Illinois Department of Revenue. On April 24, 1970, he was suspended from his position as Revenue Auditor II and formal charges were filed against him which alleged that he had a conflict of interest. A hearing was held before an officer of the Civil Service Commission and his discharge was recommended. The Civil Service Commission adopted the recommendation of the hearing officer. Guzell filed a complaint for administrative review in the Circuit Court of Cook County and the court sustained the decision of the commission.

On appeal, Guzell makes the following contentions: he was not guilty of the conflict of interest set forth in the charges; he was deprived of due process when the hearing officer and the commission improperly relied on matters not contained in the formal charges, and the order removing him from his civil service position was arbitrary, unreasonable and capricious.

The Illinois State income tax went into effect August 1, 1969, and the responsibility for its enforcement was placed in the Department of Revenue. In July 1969, the director of the department sent the following bulletin to the department's supervisors:

"TO: All Supervisory Personnel, Department of Revenue

SUBJ.: (1) Conflict of Interest

(2) Gratuities

(1) As you know, the Illinois General Assembly enacted an Income Tax effective August 1st. Every person and company subject to this Act thereby becomes a taxpayer.

Any employee of the Department of Revenue who engages in, or has any financial interest in, any outside bookkeeping or accounting practice or service on or after August 1st will be in an obvious conflict of interest situation.

Accordingly, any employee who has such outside bookkeeping or accounting interests must terminate any such interests on or before July 31, 1969.

This prohibition also applies to any compensated legal services by any full-time employee in connection with helping any taxpayer in the preparation of a tax return. A special rule for part-time hearing officers will be issued shortly.

(2) No employee may accept directly or indirectly any compensation, gift, or favor in addition to his/her salary, for preparing or helping in the preparation of a tax return on and after August 1, 1969.

Every employee of the Department of Revenue will be required to fill out a new `Conflict of Interest Statement' effective August 1, 1969. All supervisory employees and administrative agency heads will be responsible for seeing that every employee under his supervision reads the foregoing and fills out and signs a `Conflict of Interest Statement' when these are distributed.

Please have each employee in your Division sign his/her name to the return copy of this memo and return it to ...


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