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Harvey Firemens Ass'n v. City of Harvey

OPINION FILED OCTOBER 25, 1977.

HARVEY FIREMENS ASSOCIATION, LOCAL 471, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE-FIGHTERS ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-PETITIONERS-APPELLANTS,

v.

THE CITY OF HARVEY ET AL., DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR L. DUNNE, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE DOWNING DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied November 23, 1977.

The Harvey Firemens Association and other interested parties (plaintiffs) filed a 10-count complaint in the circuit court of Cook County challenging the validity of a residency requirement for the employees of the City of Harvey, Illinois, adopted by the Civil Service Commission of that municipality. The complaint also challenged, among other matters, the dismissal of a "classified civil service employee" of the City of Harvey Fire Department. Named as defendants in the action were the City of Harvey and several of its officials, and the Civil Service Commission of the City of Harvey and its members.

The circuit court entered an interlocutory order that Rule VI, section 4 of the Rules and Regulations of the Civil Service Commission of the City of Harvey, adopted and effective January 25, 1944, was legal and enforceable. All jurisdictional requisites were met, and we allowed plaintiffs' application for leave to appeal from that order, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 308. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 110A, par. 308.

The complaint alleged in pertinent part that the Civil Service Commission of the City of Harvey had no power to adopt the residency rule in question because nothing in the applicable provisions of the Illinois Municipal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 24, pars. 1-1-1 et seq., and specifically pars. 10-1-1 et seq.) granted authority to the Commission to adopt a residency requirement for "classified civil service" employees. As required by Supreme Court Rule 308, the interlocutory order here appealed from recites that the question of law in dispute is:

"Whether the Civil Service Commission for the City of Harvey, Illinois, has the power, express or implied, to adopt a rule requiring civil service employees of the City of Harvey, Illinois, to reside within its corporate limits as a condition of continued employment?"

The circuit court answered this question in the affirmative.

Plaintiffs contend that civil service commissions in Illinois are creatures of statute and, as such, possess no inherent power, but must find their authority to act within the terms of the enabling statute. They argue the enabling statute here permits a civil service commission to establish a residency requirement relating to persons applying for municipal employment falling under civil classification. But plaintiffs contend a civil service commission has neither power under the enabling statute nor inherent authority to establish residency requirements for persons who have been classified as civil service employees as a condition to continued municipal employment. Plaintiffs also state that while the City of Harvey, itself, possesses the power to adopt a residency requirement by ordinance, it has not seen fit to do so; and they concede the constitutionality of such requirements as a general rule. See McCarthy v. Philadelphia Civil Service Com. (1976), 424 U.S. 645, 47 L.Ed.2d 366, 96 S.Ct. 1154.

Defendants argue that the City of Harvey Civil Service Commission has power to establish a residency requirement for classified civil service employees through the authority granted to it by statute over applications for and removals from civil service positions. They state that the employee's refusal to move back into the city, rather than the residency requirement, is the cause of the employee's discharge, and that the question of whether a person is an applicant for office or a tenured (classified) employee has no bearing on the validity of the residency requirement.

I.

The issue presented does not appear to have been resolved in this State. The issue was raised in the case of Manion v. Kreml (1st Dist. 1970), 131 Ill. App.2d 374, 264 N.E.2d 842, but this court found no need to resolve the issue since the case was disposed of on other grounds.

• 1 The principal rule in statutory construction and interpretation is that the legislative intent must be ascertained and given effect through the language of the statute under consideration. Where that language is clear and unambiguous, the sole function of the court is to enforce the statute as enacted. The court will not depart from the plain language of the enactment by reading into it exceptions, limitations or conditions conflicting with the clearly expressed legislative intent. Certain Taxpayers v. Sheahen (1970), 45 Ill.2d 75, 84, 256 N.E.2d 758.

• 2 Section 10-1-5 of the Illinois Municipal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 24, par. 10-1-5) relates to the powers and rule-making authority of the municipal civil service commissions. It provides:

"The commission shall make rules to carry out the purposes of this Division 1 [civil service in cities], and for examinations, appointments and removals in accordance with its provisions, and the commission may, ...


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