On appeal from former Supreme Court.
Donges, Bigelow and Colie. The opinion of the court was delivered by Colie, J.A.D.
This appeal brings up the dismissal and removal of prosecutor from his position as chief clerk in the office of the Clerk in Chancery. Prosecutor was appointed pursuant to R.S. 2:2-20. The term being unspecified and indefinite it was in the unclassified service pursuant to R.S. 11:4-4(m) and since he was a veteran of World War I, prosecutor could be removed for good cause only, after a fair and impartial hearing. R.S. 38:16-1.
We omit review of the earlier steps and deal directly with the meritorious issue which terminated in a mandate from the Supreme Court to dispose of the matter on its merits. A specification of charges was served and the matter proceeded to hearing on Charges 1, 7 and 8 which were as follows:
"That you impeded and delayed the administration of the various state departments by refusing to file state papers, without the payment of filing fees, and on July 9, 1945 you were advised, under an opinion of the Attorney General, that the Office of the Clerk in Chancery,
as well as other similar offices, was without authority to impose any charges for the filing of official papers on behalf of the state. That despite this official ruling, you continued to refuse to accept state papers for filing, resulting in the delay in the collection of state taxes by injunction proceedings in Chancery; and as late as November 13, 1945 it became necessary further to advise the Clerk in Chancery that papers of the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Commission should likewise be filed without the payment of fees therefor, at which time the Attorney General called attention to his previous opinion of July 9th."
"In June, 1946, without the knowledge or consent of the Clerk in Chancery, you approached the then Chancellor of the state, the Civil Service Commission, and the State Finance Commissioner, with the request that you receive an additional title and additional compensation, for the performance of duties which were then a part of your office duties; thereafter you requested the Civil Service Commission to set up additional duties which did not at that time exist, and which in fact had been discontinued in 1945, to wit -- the preparation of the Chancery calendar. That you did induce the then Chancellor to sign a form (CS-21) requesting your appointment as Administrative Assistant, Grade III, salary range $2,400 to $3,000, placing you additionally on the Court's payroll, which is distinct from the Clerk's payroll. The effect of this, all without the knowledge or consent of the Clerk, would be that you would receive a base salary of $6,250 as Chief Clerk, increased by annual increments until a maximum salary of $7,500 was reached; and in addition, you would receive from the Court's payroll the sum of $2,400, increased by annual increments until it reached a maximum of $3,000, thus making your total annual salary the sum of $10,500. As Chief Clerk, you have charge of the preparation and full authority for the signing of payrolls, work programs, vouchers and other documents relating to fiscal affairs; that you surreptitiously tried to place yourself on two separate payrolls and thus obtain an additional secret remuneration, without the knowledge of your superior, the Clerk in Chancery."
"That on October 8, 1946, without the knowledge and consent of the Clerk in Chancery, you submitted requests to the Finance Commissioner, signed by you, requesting reservation of the sum of $2,400 from the unexpended balance in the salary appropriation for the Court's payroll, the effect of which would be to authorize you, upon the approval of a new title, to submit a supplemental payroll granting you a retroactive increase to July 1, 1945."
At the hearings in May and June, 1947, on the first charge, it developed that prosecutor in accordance with a recommendation in the auditor's report for 1945, charged filing fees for papers filed ...