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Mangan v. Department of Civil Service

Decided: January 22, 1954.

HARRY N. MANGAN, APPELLANT,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, RESPONDENT



Jayne, Francis and Proctor. The opinion of the court was delivered by Francis, J.A.D.

Francis

On January 19, 1953 the Civil Service Department gave public notice of an examination for the position of Chief Probation Officer of Salem County, open to male and female citizens of at least 12 months' residence in the county. The required qualifications for applicants, so far as pertinent, were set forth as follows:

"1. Formal education or other education or training showing attainment of the level represented by graduation from college with specialization in the social sciences, and related fields. Experience in probation or related social service work will receive consideration if offered in lieu of formal education. Prospective candidates who believe their training and experience are equivalent to the requirements of formal education should submit applications.

2. Ten years of experience in probation work, including five years of supervisory work in the probationary field."

Appellant, Harry N. Mangan, applied for leave to take the examination. His application set forth that he graduated from Salem High School, studied accounting for six months at Pierce Business College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had six semester hours' credit in sociology and psychology at the University of Delaware, had attended officers' schools in the New Jersey National Guard during 1915, 1916 and 1917 before entering the army in World War I, and that he was admitted to the bar of this State as an attorney in 1923 and as a counsellor in 1935. It further recited that he had been assistant county counsel of Salem County for nine and one-half years on a part-time basis, during which part of his duties were to "supervise Salem County Probation Office, advising and assisting it in making investigations and the collection, analysis and evaluation of social, financial and other data, and preparing any necessary legal or other

papers in connection with the work of the Department." In addition, he had been assistant treasurer of the county for two years and treasurer for nine years; he had engaged in the general practice of law for many years and at the time of the application he was a probation officer of the county and had been such for the previous ten months.

Shortly thereafter Mangan received word from the department that he had been rejected as a candidate for the examination because of failure to meet the minimum requirements outlined in the public notice. He then informed the Department of his desire to appeal from the ruling and was advised by the chief examiner that: "No grounds exist for the formal consideration of an appeal by the Civil Service Commission and the original decision as to eligibility must stand." Further correspondence on the subject with the president resulted in confirmation of the denial of an appeal, the final word being: "Certification and appointment have been made to the position in question and this department considers the matter closed."

As already noted, the public announcement restricted the proposed examination to citizens of the county of 12 months' residence. This seems to be within the Department's authority. N.J.S.A. 11:9-13. Mangan asserts that the qualifications demanded were such as to limit the field to two eligibles, himself and one Greenwood, also a probation officer of the county. Upon his disqualification, Greenwood was appointed and Mangan questions whether any examination was taken by Greenwood. In any event, the record now before us does not reveal information on this subject, nor any as to the appointee's qualifications.

On this appeal, it is urged that the action of the Department in denying an appeal and a hearing thereon constituted a violation of the Civil Service Act (N.J.S.A. 11:9-6) and an abuse of administrative discretion as well.

The statute mentioned provides that:

"An applicant or eligible [for admission to a test] may appeal to the commission from the action of the chief examiner and secretary in accordance with the ...


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