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11/19/87 the Department of Human v. Sharon Dayton Et Al.

November 19, 1987





515 N.E.2d 1317, 162 Ill. App. 3d 601, 114 Ill. Dec. 46 1987.IL.1721

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. Raymond L. Terrell, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE LUND delivered the opinion of the court. GREEN and KNECHT, JJ., concur.


In an administrative ruling, the Illinois Civil Service Commission (the Commission) granted the claim of Sharon Dayton regarding her layoff from the Illinois Department of Human Rights (the Department). The Department filed a complaint for administrative review, and, upon review, the circuit court of Sangamon County confirmed the decision of the Commission. The Department appeals. We reverse.

Sharon Dayton was employed with the Department in October 1980 as a human rights program administrator. During the summer of 1982, the Governor, by amendatory veto, reduced the appropriations for the Department. This required reductions in expenditures for the fiscal year starting July 1, 1982, and ending June 30, 1983. The Department made budgetary reductions and determined that it would be necessary to eliminate the position occupied by Dayton. The Department of Central Management Services approved the Department's plan, and Dayton was laid off effective September 27, 1982. Dayton appealed alleging the layoff was (1) based on racial discrimination, (2) in violation of the Department's own adverse impact analysis policy, and (3) in violation of the Department of Personnel rules in that the layoff was not due to lack of funds, a material change in duties, or organization, or lack of work, or the abolition of a State position. Dayton requested relief in the form of reinstatement with full compensation, including lost vacation time and salary increases.

From September 1982 until a hearing on October 17, 1984, various filings, including amended complaints, financial data, and fiscal plans, were submitted to the Commission. The hearing officer issued his findings, Conclusions, and recommended decision on December 5, 1984. In terms of the issues raised by Dayton and enumerated above, the hearing officer found in favor of the Department. Because of the limited nature of this appeal, we need not attempt to analyze or Judge the hearing officer's determination. Rather, this appeal stems from a separate allegation of impropriety which arose at the hearing.

During the October 17, 1984, hearing, information was brought forth relating to the improper filling of the position of human rights investigation supervisor. The investigation supervisor position was a position inferior by classification and salary to the position of human rights program administrator, the position held by Dayton. In turn, the position of human rights investigator II was inferior by classification and salary to that of investigation supervisor. Investigation supervisor was directly concerned with the position of human rights investigator II. If the investigation supervisor position was available at Dayton's

layoff, by existing seniority rules, she would have been entitled to the job in preference to unemployment. During the period of time surrounding Dayton's layoff, an investigation supervisor position was vacant. However, an employment freeze, decreed by the Governor, was also in existence.

On March 15, 1982, the Department, by temporary assignment, placed Franklin Meredith in the investigation supervisor position. Meredith was an investigator II and continued to be paid at the investigator II salary. The Department tried to obtain an exemption to the hiring freeze in order to permanently fill the investigation supervisor position on four occasions, spanning a period from early 1982 until the date of the hearing. Each of these applications was denied. Temporary assignments are valid for only six months. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 127, par. 63b108b.9.) This statute and its corresponding rule were violated as to Meredith, as he was still serving in the investigation supervisor position in October 1984.

The Commission was provided with a copy of the Governor's executive order implementing the hiring freeze, which reads as follows:

"Effective at the close of business today, November 12, 1980, no agency, department, bureau, board or commission subject to the control or direction of the Governor shall hire any employee, fill any vacancy, create any new position or take any other action which will result in increases, or the maintenance of present levels, in State employment, including personal service contracts. All hiring is frozen. There will be no exceptions to this order without my express permission after submission of appropriate requests to my office." (Emphasis in original.)

The issue of Meredith's improper occupation of the investigation supervisor position was decided without a hearing. Shortly after the hearing on October 17, 1984, in which the matter was first brought to the attention of the Commission, the Commission conducted a brief investigation. Thereafter, Bruce Finne, executive secretary of the Commission, authored a letter with findings and Conclusions. It was sent out on ...

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