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08/31/87 Ann B. Painter, Supervisor v. the Board of Trustees of

August 31, 1987

ANN B. PAINTER, SUPERVISOR OF THE TOWN OF LYONS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE TOWN OF LYONS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION

513 N.E.2d 928, 161 Ill. App. 3d 26, 112 Ill. Dec. 319

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. George M. Marovich, Judge, presiding. 1987.IL.1264

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE QUINLAN delivered the opinion of the court. BUCKLEY and MANNING, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE QUINLAN

This is an action for declaratory judgment, mandamus or injunctive relief, brought by the plaintiff, Ann B. Painter, the township supervisor (supervisor) and ex officio supervisor of general assistance of the town of Lyons, to compel the defendant, the town of Lyons board of trustees (board), to budget $7,980 for the continued employment of an intake social worker in the general assistance office which the plaintiff had determined was necessary.

The supervisor submitted a general assistance budget to the board for the fiscal year 1986-87 for $292,000. This amount included $13,800 for an intake social worker employed in the general assistance office. The board adopted a general assistance budget for the full $292,000 but reduced the line item for intake social worker to $5,280 and transferred the balance, $7,980, to the line item for home relief. Thereafter, the board, by letter dated June 16, 1986, informed the present intake social worker that by adoption of its 1986-87 budget, the board had eliminated the position of intake social worker effective July 1, 1986.

On June 30, 1986, plaintiff filed her complaint for declaratory judgment, mandamus and injunctive relief requesting, inter alia, a temporary restraining order to prevent the dismissal of the general assistance intake social worker. Plaintiff's request for a temporary restraining order was denied. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint for declaratory judgment, mandamus and injunctive relief. Plaintiff then filed a motion for summary judgment and the defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint. On September 16, 1986, after hearing arguments, the trial court denied the supervisor's motion for summary judgment and granted the board's motion to dismiss the complaint. The supervisor has now appealed to this court.

Painter, the township supervisor, contends in her appeal that the trial court erred by (1) holding that the board could not be compelled to budget an amount deemed necessary by the supervisor for maintaining and compensating an adequate number of general assistance employees; and (2) ruling that the board could refuse to appropriate sufficient funds for a general assistance employee and thereby terminate an existing employee, even though the supervisor had determined that the employee was necessary to provide public aid within the town. The defendant board, on the other hand, asserts that the authority for the enactment of an appropriation ordinance is vested in the board by the Municipal Budget Law (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 85, par. 801 et seq.) and, that the exercise of this authority is a discretionary legislative function. The board contends that the trial court therefore properly granted its motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint.

Essentially, it is the plaintiff's position that, as ex officio supervisor of general assistance, she has the sole authority for determining the number of people that should be employed in the township's general assistance office, who these people should be, and how much compensation they should receive. Additionally, she contends that the township's board has the duty to budget such funds as she, the general assistance supervisor, has deemed necessary in order to employ the personnel and to perform the duties required to provide public aid for the township. Furthermore, she asserts that, if the board fails to or refuses to provide the necessary funds, the board may be compelled to do so.

In support of her contention, the plaintiff relies upon section 12-21.2 of the Public Aid Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 23, par. 12-21.2), which provides:

"In counties under township organization, the supervisors of the respective towns therein shall be ex officio Supervisors of General Assistance of their towns. The Supervisor of General Assistance shall appoint such other employees as may be necessary to provide public aid under Article VI and prescribe their compensation and duties."

Section 12 -- 3 of the Public Aid Code provides that local governments, such as the town of Lyons, "shall" provide funds for the general assistance program. Furthermore, the plaintiff points out that, consistent with this duty to fund the operations necessary to provide public aid, as determined by the supervisor of the general assistance office, township law specifically limits the township board's authority over the general assistance office, expressly providing in section 13 -- 11, in pertinent part, as follows:

"The township board of trustees may employ and fix the compensation of a township attorney and such other employees as the Board of Trustees may deem necessary, excluding the employees of the office of Supervisor of General Assistance . . ...


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