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State v. Clark

Decided: August 21, 1953.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES P. CLARK, ET AL., INDIVIDUALLY AND AS MEMBERS OF THE BOULEVARD COMMISSION OF THE COUNTY OF HUDSON, AND THE BOULEVARD COMMISSIONERS OF THE COUNTY OF HUDSON, DEFENDANTS



Woods, J.s.c.

Woods

[27 NJSuper Page 292] This is a motion brought in proceedings instituted in lieu of prerogative writ under Rule 3:81. Originally the suit was instituted by plaintiff Department of Civil Service of New Jersey to compel the Boulevard Commissioners of the County of Hudson and the members thereof to submit to the plaintiff all the names of their employees within the classified service and the wages and compensation to be paid to each at regular pay intervals from January 16, 1953 agreeable to the provisions of R.S. 11:22-20. After the complaint was filed the officers of Local No. 17 of the New Jersey State Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Inc., of which the police employees of the Boulevard Commissioners

of the County of Hudson are members, were permitted to intervene as co-plaintiffs by order of the court made on April 24, 1953. The amended complaint alleges that on November 7, 1911 the provisions of Title 11 of the Revised Statutes of New Jersey (Civil Service) were adopted by referendum by the electorate of Hudson County, and that thereafter the names of all of its employees within the classified service and the wages and compensation to be paid to them were duly certified and forwarded to the Department of Civil Service as required by R.S. 11:22-20. As aforesaid, on January 16, 1953 the defendants failed to submit for certification the information required under the statute, and notified the Department of Civil Service that they were discontinuing such practice for the reason that the employees of the Boulevard Commissioners of the County of Hudson were not under Title 11 and were not entitled to the protection of civil service.

Plaintiffs demand judgment:

"(a) declaring the employees of the Boulevard Commissioners of the County of Hudson to be within the protection of Title 11 of the Revised Statutes; (b) for an order requiring the defendant Boulevard Commissioners of the County of Hudson through their duly constituted disbursing officers to submit to the plaintiff all names of the Commission's employees within the classified service and the wages and compensation to be paid to said employees, at regular pay intervals from January 16, 1953, in compliance with the statute made and provided and the rules and regulations of the said Commission; and (c) for costs."

By amended answer the defendants admit the referendum as stated in the complaint and the adoption of Title 11 of the Revised Statutes of New Jersey by and for the County of Hudson, but deny that the same is applicable to the Boulevard Commissioners of the County of Hudson and the employees thereof.

Defendants put to the court the issue in this form:

"Does the adoption of the provisions of the Civil Service Law for the County of Hudson at a General Election held in November, 1911, pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 156 of the Laws of

1908 (and the amendments and supplements thereto, now R.S. 11:20-1 et seq.) subject the members of the Boulevard Commission of the County of Hudson, an independent political corporation, and its employees to the provisions of the Civil Service Law?"

Defendants contend it does not. They contend that the boulevard commissioners were created by act of the Legislature, L. 1898, c. 106 (now R.S. 27:17-2 et seq.), wherein it is provided that the said commissioners shall be elected by the voters of the county wherein the commission shall function, and that by the provisions of R.S. 27:17-8, N.J.S.A.:

"The commissioners shall be entitled to the use and possession of all property and plant of the county used for maintaining, lighting and repairing such road and may employ such agents, servants and employees as they may deem necessary for the proper performance of the work to be done under this chapter, and may fix their compensation which shall be paid out of the fund appropriated for the use of the commission as hereinbefore provided."

They aver that they are an independent political corporation and base their argument on a recently decided case by the Supreme Court of New Jersey by which they allege that it has been determined that the "legal status of the Boulevard Commission" is "entirely separate from and free from any control whatsoever of the County of Hudson." In stressing this point, defendants continue: "In the case of Nolan v. Fitzpatrick, et al. , 9 N.J. 477 (1952) Chief Justice Vanderbilt, speaking for the Supreme Court, ...


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