The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Wolfson
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County
Honorable, Sidney A. Jones III, Judge Presiding.
For several years, the Park Superintendents' Professional Association and some of its members have been trying to get the State of Illinois to negotiate employment terms and to follow certain provisions of the Illinois Personal Code. Reviewing court decisions until now have rejected every theory raised by the plaintiffs except one: whether mandamus would be proper to remedy any of the defendant's alleged acts or omissions. Now, we close that door.
Plaintiffs, the Park Superintendents' Professional Association (Association), its president, Jon Blume, and members of the Association Dennis Doyle and Robert Grosso, appeal from the dismissal with prejudice of three counts in their fourth amended complaint seeking a writ of mandamus to compel defendants to comply with sections of the Illinois Personnel Code (Personnel Code) (20 ILCS 415/1 et seq. (West 1998)) and Personnel Rules (Rules) (see 80 Ill. Admin. Code § 302.10 et seq.) in matters of hiring, negotiating, and processing grievances.
This court previously affirmed with prejudice the dismissal of portions of plaintiffs' second amended complaint raising equal protection and due process claims based on defendants' failure to negotiate with the Association, affirmed without prejudice the dismissal of the remaining three counts alleging defendants' violations of the Personnel Code, and remanded to give plaintiffs an opportunity to plead an action for mandamus. Park Superintendents' Professional Association v. Ryan, No. 1-99-1288 (1999)(unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).
On defendants' motion to dismiss, the trial court dismissed "all claims and causes" in the fourth amended complaint with prejudice. Plaintiffs contend the trial court erred in finding: (1) the relief they requested was not available in mandamus; (2) laches barred their claims; and (3) they lacked standing. Plaintiffs do not dispute the trial court's dismissal with prejudice of the remaining counts. We affirm the trial court.
The Association is a voluntary, nonprofit corporation comprised of Site Supervisors and Site Managers, also referred to as Public Service Administrators (PSAs), who supervise Illinois' state parks and historical sites. All Association members are state employees, employed by the State of Illinois Department of Natural Resources or the Historic Preservation Agency. They are covered by provisions of the Personnel Code, which is implemented by the Department of Central Management Services (CMS).
Beginning in May 1993, the Association unsuccessfully petitioned the Illinois State Labor Relations Board (ISLRB), seeking designation as the exclusive bargaining agent for all PSAs. The ISLRB dismissed the petition in April 1994, finding that PSAs are managerial employees within the meaning of section 3(j) of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (5 ILCS 315/3(j) (West 1996)) and, therefore, not eligible for inclusion in a collective bargaining unit. 5 ILCS 315/3(n), 6(a) (West 1996). That decision was affirmed on appeal (Illinois Federation of Public Employees v. Illinois State Labor Relations Board, No. 1-94-1640 (1995)(unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23)) and the supreme court denied leave to appeal (165 Ill. 2d 551 (1996)).
CMS denied the Association's subsequent attempts to pursue labor negotiations, citing the managerial status of PSAs which excludes them from collective bargaining. The Director of CMS dismissed Blume's subsequent grievance at the 4th level as not grievable under the CMS Rules.
The Association and Blume filed suit in state and federal court, seeking review of CMS's refusal to negotiate with the Association. The federal claims were eventually dismissed.
The Association and Blume initially filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court on February 13, 1998. The first amended and second amended complaints were dismissed pursuant to defendants' section 2-615 motion (735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 1998)).
On appeal from the dismissal of their second amended complaint, plaintiffs asked this court to construe their claims under the Personnel Code as actions for mandamus. Because plaintiffs had not pled mandamus and the allegations of the complaint did not provide sufficient information on which to determine whether a mandamus action could be maintained, this court affirmed the dismissal but remanded to allow plaintiffs to plead mandamus claims.
Plaintiffs filed a third amended complaint on March 17, 2000, adding three mandamus claims and adding Doyle and Grosso as additional plaintiffs. The court granted defendants' motion to dismiss and granted plaintiffs leave to file a fourth amended complaint.
On April 13, 2000, plaintiffs filed their fourth amended complaint. The specific allegations in each count seeking mandamus are set out below.
In count 1, plaintiffs sought a writ of mandamus to compel defendants to comply with the examination and hiring requirements of the Personnel Code. Specifically, they sought to compel defendants to promulgate rules for posting and announcing vacant civil service positions prior to any appointment; to post and announce open competitive and promotional examinations for vacant positions prior to appointment; and to fill all vacant positions from eligible lists prepared in accordance with the Personnel Code.
Plaintiffs alleged the following appointments were not made from among the three highest ranking candidates on an eligibility list or by approval of the Director from a lower ranking group in compliance with sections 8b.3 and 8b.5 of ...