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05/14/97 AMERICAN FEDERATION STATE v. DEPARTMENT

May 14, 1997

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, COUNCIL 31, AFL-CIO, RUSSELL LADSON, ADELE TRASS, DANY ST. PREAX, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,
v.
THE DEPARTMENT OF CENTRAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES, MICHAEL S. SCHWARTZ, DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES, THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. No. 94 CH 11503. THE HONORABLE LESTER D. FOREMAN, JUDGE PRESIDING.

Rehearing Denied June 19, 1997. Released for Publication June 25, 1997.

Presiding Justice Cousins delivered the opinion of the court. Leavitt and Cahill, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cousins

PRESIDING JUSTICE COUSINS delivered the opinion of the court:

Plaintiffs, a labor organization and three State of Illinois employees, filed a complaint against the Department of Central Management Services (CMS), its Director, and the Illinois Civil Service Commission for administrative review from the Illinois Civil Service Commission (the Commission). The complaint was based on the Commission's approval of revisions to the job classification plan that created the "Public Service Administrator" classification (PSA). The PSA classification replaced approximately 240 other job classifications. The trial court dismissed the labor organization from the suit with prejudice and later issued a writ of certiorari in favor of the individual plaintiffs. The court ordered the defendants to reinstate the plaintiffs to the classifications they had been assigned to prior to the revision of the plan. On appeal, defendants contend that: (1) the Commission's approval of the classification plan was not subject to review by writ of certiorari; and (2) assuming arguendo that the Commission's decision was reviewable using a writ of certiorari, the Commission's approval of the revision was not arbitrary or capricious.

BACKGROUND

In September 1993, the Governor's Human Resources Advisory Council (the Council) issued its final report entitled "Recommendations for Change in Illinois." One of the Council's recommendations was that the number of classifications of state jobs subject to the provisions of the Illinois Personnel Code (the Code)(20 ILCS 415/1 et seq. (West 1992)) be "dramatically reduced." The Council stated that, in the past, a classification was defined with such "excruciating detail that it could also serve as the actual job description" and that such detailed type of system had resulted in 1,679 job classifications.

In the Council's opinion, career development would be expanded by the new broad-banded classification system because it would encourage extended career opportunities for workers who may have been locked into one or two agency specific series and locked out of very similar jobs in other agencies. The Council also noted that the change would encourage state agencies to update job descriptions as a routine measure in the work place, thus eliminating the "cumbersome and difficult" requirement of having to obtain the approval of the Civil Service Commission for authorization of a position classification change.

In August 1994, the Illinois Department of Central Management Services published a notice in the Illinois Register of the proposed amendment to the position classification pay plan. The proposed amendment revised the heading of section 310.495 of the rules in the Administrative Code from "Senior Public Service Administrator Class Series" to "Public Service Administrator Series." 80 Ill. Adm. Code ยง 310.495 (1994).

The notice of proposed amendment stated that the new series would include the following classifications: "Public Service Administrator" (PSA); "Senior PSA, Level I"; and "Senior PSA, Level II." The notice also stated that the new PSA class would replace most job titles assigned to the merit compensation system salary ranges of MC-08 to MC-11 and would be assigned the salary range of $28,680 to $59,500 *fn1 The proposed amendment provided that any incumbent in the MC-08 to MC-11 salary range prior to classification in the PSA class would be placed into the range with no change in salary. Also, the proposed amendment provided that salary increases of between 5% and 10% may be given to those in the PSA class who were assigned additional responsibilities.

On November 15, 1994, Stephen Schnorf, former director of CMS *fn2, approved a change in the classification plan to add the PSA classification. The classification plan review report that was compiled by CMS stated that the new classification applied to certain managerial supervisory or confidential state employees whose positions were at the salary ranges MC-08 through MC-11. Employees whose positions were affected by the new PSA class would move into the class at their existing salaries.

The report stated that the PSA class was "created in order to consolidate a large number of senior management classifications to result in a more effective classification system." The report also stated that the narrowly defined classes that previously were used restricted management's ability to assign duties and functions to positions. According to the report, the "establishment of the Public Service Administrator class is consistent with a broad banding approach to classification and will enable management flexibility in the assignment of duties and creation of positions."

Common to all PSA positions is the management nature of the work. PSA positions are "full line supervisors" or administrators who assist higher level managers. Other PSA positions may act in a confidential labor relations capacity. The PSA class encompasses those jobs where the scope of the operation and associated administrative and managerial duties is not as great as that of the Senior PSA, but where work performed is higher than that of first level management positions.

The minimal requirements for the PSA class include the knowledge, skill, and mental development equivalent to the completion of four years of college, preferably with courses in business or public administration, and prior experience equivalent to three years of progressively responsible administrative experience in a public or business organization. Specific requirements vary by position option and relate to the specific position's duties and responsibilities.

On November 17, 1994, the Illinois Civil Service Commission held a special meeting to determine whether to approve the creation of the PSA classification, as required by the Personnel Code. 20 ILCS 415/8a (West 1992). Gilbert Feldman, attorney for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31, ALC-CIO (AFSCME), attended the meeting and voiced his opinion that the PSA class did not comply with section 8a(1) of the Personnel Code, which requires that a classification plan be "based upon similarity of duties performed, responsibilities assigned, and conditions of employment so that the same schedule of pay may be equitably applied to all positions in the same class." 20 ILCS 415/8a(1)(West 1992). Mr. Feldman stated his opinion that the reclassification would encompass job titles so disparate that they rationally could not be placed in the same classification.

Mike Murphy responded on behalf of CMS at the Commission's open meeting by stating that the commonality in the class consists of the supervisory responsibility of each employee. Murphy also stated that the decision to create the PSA class was in response to the Human Resource Advisory Committee's suggestion that the number of classifications ...


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