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Chicago Ex Rel. Martin-trigona v. O'malley

OPINION FILED JANUARY 20, 1978.

THE CITY OF CHICAGO EX REL. ANTHONY ROBERT MARTIN-TRIGONA, APPELLANT,

v.

PATRICK O'MALLEY ET AL., APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County, the Hon. John S. Page, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE RYAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiff filed suit against the Regional Transportation Authority (hereafter referred to as RTA) and one of its nine directors, Patrick O'Malley, for a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, alleging that O'Malley's actions at a June 24, 1977, board meeting constituted a valid resignation. Plaintiff argues that since O'Malley had effectively resigned on June 24, 1977, his votes in favor of two fuel tax ordinances on June 30, 1977, were invalid.

Absent O'Malley's votes, the ordinances would not have passed with the required two-thirds majority. Thus, if he had validly resigned, the fuel taxes are illegal. Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment was denied, and the trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants. The defendants' motion for summary judgment was supported by a detailed affidavit of O'Malley and Edward Wolf, Jr., an employee of the RTA. These affidavits incorporated O'Malley's letter of resignation, Chicago Mayor Bilandic's reply, a copy of the transcript of relevant meetings of the RTA, and in detail other pertinent factual material. In order to expedite consideration of the validity of the taxes, we allowed a direct appeal under Supreme Court Rule 302(b) (58 Ill.2d R. 302(b)).

At the time in question, Patrick O'Malley was one of nine directors of the RTA. He was one of the four directors who had been appointed by the mayor of Chicago with city council approval, having held his office since November 26, 1975. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 111 2/3, par. 703.01.) On June 24, 1977, O'Malley attended a board meeting of the RTA to consider the proposed 1978 fiscal year budget. After discussion of the budget, O'Malley made the following statement to the board:

"It is quite obvious we have failed to meet the mandate of the RTA enabling legislation. We have spent the better part of a year trying to maneuver it around to meet our own desires and requirements.

They gave us the authority to pass a five percent tax. We tried to change that, we tried to go in and get a sales tax. Instead of it, they gave us the authority to do a whole host of other things which we failed to do as members of the RTA.

We have failed to provide what I consider a cohesive transit system. We have allowed ourselves to become referential and not be regional as a whole.

We have failed to meet the responsibility as a Board. We have demoralized the staff by continued interruptions of their work. We have usurped the authority of management in their job to run this staff and to run the RTA.

We have failed in so many areas that I think we all ought to do what I am going to do right now. We ought to all return to the Government that appointed us and tender to them our resignation.

Thank you very much, it's been nice to be with you, and that's what I intend to do at this moment."

At that point, O'Malley left the meeting. No comment was made about his statement or his departure, although he was listed as absent on a vote later in the meeting. On the same day, he wrote and delivered the following letter to the office of Chicago Mayor Bilandic:

"June 24, 1977

The Honorable Michael A. Bilandic Mayor of Chicago 507 City Hall ...


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