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County of Bergen v. Civil Service Commission

Decided: September 3, 1948.

THE COUNTY OF BERGEN, BY ITS BOARD OF CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS, PROSECUTOR-APPELLANT,
v.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY AND FRANK F. DZERK, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



On appeal from the Supreme Court, whose opinion is reported in 136 N.J.L. 467.

For the appellant, Milton T. Lasher.

For the Civil Service Commission, Walter D. Van Riper, Attorney-General, and Louis S. Cohen, Deputy Attorney-General.

For Frank F. Dzerk, Milton B. Conford and John J. Breen.

Colie

The opinion of the court was delivered by

COLIE, J. On May 16th, 1947, the Civil Service Commission certified Frank F. Dzerk and others as eligible for appointment to the Bergen County Traffic Police Department. On May 21st the Board of Freeholders made a number of appointments of traffic patrolmen but passed over Mr. Dzerk who was fourth on the list certified by the Commission. Mr.

Dzerk was a disabled veteran, holding a medical discharge from the army as a result of a head injury or injuries and a nervous breakdown. All of the candidates were examined by Dr. Raphael S. Gilady, acting for the Board of Freeholders. He reported that Mr. Dzerk was in perfect physical condition but recommended examination in a mental hygiene clinic and the opinion of a psychiatrist as to his mental stability. The Board of Freeholders requested the Commission to arrange for a psychiatric examination of all candidates which was refused. The Board of Freeholders then engaged Dr. Laurence M. Collins, clinical director of the New Jersey State Hospital at Greystone Park, to make an examination. His opinion was that Mr. Dzerk was "not capable of assuming the duties and responsibilities required in a police officer."

The Commission held a hearing and rendered its decision ordering the Board of Freeholders "to appoint for the usual probationary period Frank F. Dzerk."

The Board of Freeholders applied for and was granted a rule to show cause why certiorari should not be allowed to review the decision of the Civil Service Commission. Depositions were taken and upon the return of the rule it was stipulated that the Supreme Court decide the meritorious question and make a final determination. Before the Supreme Court was the deposition of Dr. S. Philip Goodhart, a qualified psychiatrist, whose opinion was that "Mr. Dzerk physically and mentally shows a condition which merits his acceptance for a probationary period as police officer."

The Supreme Court affirmed the action of the Civil Service Commission directing the appointment of Mr. Dzerk for the probationary period, relying upon the decisions of that court in Civil Service Commission v. Rife, 128 N.J.L. 503, and Morgan v. Civil Service Commission, 131 Id. 410.

The question for decision is whether the appointing body, in this case the Bergen County Board of Freeholders, was required to appoint a disabled veteran to the county police force, such veteran having been certified by the Civil Service Commission despite the fact that the veteran, in the judgment of the Board of ...


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