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Andre v. Board of Trustees of Village of Maywood

decided: July 27, 1977.


Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 76-C-1051 - George N. Leighton, Judge.

Pell and Bauer, Circuit Judges, and William J. Campbell, Senior District Judge.*fn*

Author: Campbell

CAMPBELL, Senior District Judge.

On August 14, 1975 the Trustees of the Village of Maywood (Maywood) adopted an ordinance which required all department heads and administrative personnel to establish residency within Maywood no later than two years after the date of its passage. All other employees and officers were required by the same ordinance to establish Maywood residency within four years. Plaintiffs,*fn1 who consist of policemen, firemen, and other municipal employees challenged the validity of the residency ordinance by instituting this action in the district court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and various provisions of the Constitution. Plaintiffs are currently employed by Maywood, and reside outside the corporate limits of Maywood.

Maywood responded to the complaint by filing a motion to dismiss. The district court, Judge Leighton, granted the motion to dismiss, indicating that his reasons for doing so were adequately expressed by Judge Decker of the same court in an unreported memorandum opinion dismissing an unrelated action involving a similar residency requirement.*fn2 In seeking reversal plaintiffs contend that the challenged ordinance operates retrospectively to deprive them of pre-existing vested rights in violation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, impairs an obligation of contract in violation of Article I, § 10 of the Constitution, and should be scrutinized for equal protection purposes against a compelling state interest standard. For the reasons stated below, we reject these contentions and affirm the judgment of the district court.

We note at the outset that residency restrictions imposed upon municipal employees as a continuing condition of their public employment have been upheld by numerous courts. Such residency restrictions have been held to be rationally related to legitimate governmental purposes. E.g. McCarthy v. Philadelphia's Civil Service Commission, 424 U.S. 645, 47 L. Ed. 2d 366, 96 S. Ct. 1154 (1976); Detroit Police Officers Assn. v. City of Detroit, 385 Mich. 519, 190 N.W.2d 97 (1971), appeal dismissed for lack of substantial federal question, 405 U.S. 950, 92 S. Ct. 1173, 31 L. Ed. 2d 227 (1972); Mogle v. Sevier County School District, 540 F.2d 478 (10th Cir. 1976); Wardwell v. Board of Education of City School District, 529 F.2d 625 (6th Cir. 1976); Wright v. City of Jackson, Mississippi, 506 F.2d 900 (5th Cir. 1975); Miller v. Krawczyk, 414 F. Supp. 998 (E.D. Wisc. 1976); Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers v. Aaron, 417 F. Supp. 94 (W.D. Penn. 1976); Conway v. City of Kenosha, Wisconsin, 409 F. Supp. 344 (E.D. Wisc. 1975); Ector v. City of Torrance, 10 Cal. 3d 129, 514 P. 2d 433, 109 Cal. Reptr. 849 (1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 935, 39 L. Ed. 2d 493, 94 S. Ct. 1451 (1974); Hattiesburg Firefighters Local 184 v. City of Hattiesburg, 263 So. 2d 767 (Miss., 1972); Abrahams v. Civil Service Commission, 65 N.J. 61, 319 A.2d 483 (1974); Salt Lake City Firefighters Local 1645 v. Salt Lake City, 22 Utah 2d 115, 449 P. 2d 239 (1969); Kennedy v. City of Newark, 29 N.J. 178, 148 A. 2d 473 (1959). In at least one case involving a state statute requiring policemen and firemen to reside in the municipality where they are employed, a three-judge district court held that the residency restriction was justified by a compelling state interest. Krzewinski v. Kugler, 338 F. Supp. 492 (D.N.J. 1972).


In this case plaintiffs urge us to scrutinize strictly the challenged ordinance because, plaintiffs contend, that ordinance acts retrospectively in violation of due process arbitrarily to deprive them of a pre-existing vested contractual right to live where they choose. In this regard plaintiffs argue that for many years Maywood consented to and allowed them to reside outside the corporate limits of Maywood. Further, plaintiffs point to Section I(B)(2) of the Maywood personnel code which was adopted in 1971 with the passage of an ordinance, and which provides:

In hiring new employees, preference will be given Maywood residents -all other factors being equil (sic). If qualified Village residents do not apply, then non-residents may be employed in any position.

Plaintiffs then assert that this ordinance was adopted in accordance with Ill. Rev. Stat., ch. 24, § 3-14-1 (1975) which provides in relevant part:

No person shall be eligible to any municipal office unless he is a qualified elector of the municipality and has resided therein at least one year next preceding his election or appointment. . . .

It is plaintiffs' principal argument that the 1971 adoption of Section I(B)(2) of the personnel code, together with the past actions of Maywood in allowing its employees to reside elsewhere, created in plaintiffs a vested contractual right to live outside Maywood. The adoption of the 1975 residency requirement ordinance acted to repeal Section I(B)(2)'s "express approval and authorization" to reside outside Maywood and, their argument concludes, resulted in an unconstitutional exercise of the municipality's police power. We do not agree.

Section I(B)(2) does not grant an express approval or authorization to Maywood employees to live outside Maywood. Whatever that ordinance established with respect to hiring preferences, we conclude that it did not serve to create the vested contractual right claimed by appellants here. Nothing in the language of Section I(B)(2) indicates the creation of an absolute unconditional right in plaintiffs to live outside Maywood. Even if Section I(B)(2) did create some interest in the plaintiffs, that interest would have been contingent upon the anticipated continuance of the ordinance. Such an interest does not amount to a vested right.*fn3 Cf. Smith v. Hill, 12 Ill. 2d 588, 594, 147 N.E.2d 321 (1958); Goldblatt v. City of Chicago, 30 Ill. App. 2d 211, 217-218, 174 N.E.2d 222 (1961).

Further, we do not agree with plaintiffs' contention that the challenged residency ordinance is retrospective in nature. We have already concluded that § I(B)(2) and Maywood's past actions with respect to employee residency did not create in plaintiffs an antecedent vested right to reside where they choose, and that any interest to reside outside Maywood was subject to the reasonable exercise of Maywood's police powers. We note in addition that the residency ordinance requires present Maywood employees to establish residency within the Village by specified future dates. The ordinance does not penalize those employees living outside Maywood for having so resided in the past. Under the terms of the ordinance, an employee will be charged with a violation of the residency ordinance not because the employee resided outside Maywood in the past, but rather, an employee will be charged with a violation for failure to establish a Maywood residency within the ...

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