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Mercer Council 4 v. Alloway

Decided: April 28, 1972.

MERCER COUNCIL #4, NEW JERSEY CIVIL SERVICE ASSOCIATION, INC., A NON-PROFIT CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, APPELLANT,
v.
JAMES ALLOWAY, PRESIDENT NEW JERSEY CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE, AND THE NEW JERSEY CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION AND THE NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE, RESPONDENTS



Conford, Matthews and Fritz.

Per Curiam

The question presented is whether the Civil Service Commission has not exceeded its statutory rule-making authority by promulgating an amendment of N.J.A.C. 4:1-3.8 authorizing the Chief Examiner and Secretary of the Commission, under the supervision and direction of the President of the agency, to assign to the various state operating departments outside Civil Service, on a one-year trial basis, duties and functions which the Civil Service Act imposes on and delegates to the Chief Examiner and Secretary himself, involving "classification programs, compensation programs, administrative procedures and promotional examinations in state service" (quoting from the rule amendment).

The expanded authority thus vested in the Chief Examiner and Secretary has been exercised by him by a limited subdelegation to the operating state departments, subject to certain reserved supervisory guidance and oversight by the

Commission itself, of functions of the type mentioned, for the period July 1, 1971 to June 30, 1972. This has been done in partial implementation of broad recommendations made by a Governor's Management Commission ("Field Commission"), acting pursuant to an Executive Order, which surveyed and reported upon a study of the functions and operations of the Executive Branch of the State Government in November 1970. This study, among many other things, criticized the efficiency of the fundamental organizational structure and operating procedures of the Civil Service Commission under the existing provisions of Title 11 of the Revised Statutes and recommended a complete reorganization of the Department of Civil Service and a substantial degree of what it denominates "decentralization" throughout the other state departments of personnel practices and procedures affecting State Government now vested in the Civil Service Department by statute. The merits of those recommendations are, of course, not now before us for review, but only the legality of the partial implementation thereof by the rule-making action of the Civil Service Commission aforesaid, taken without express legislative sanction.

It is initially useful to consider the degree of specificity of existing legislative provisions for performance of the subdelegated functions in question by the Commission and the Chief Examiner and Secretary.

That officer is required by N.J.S.A. 11:6-2(a) to establish and maintain a roster of all employees in the state classified service, recording titles of positions, rates of compensation, changes in status of employees, etc.; (b) to study and report to the Commission from time to time on rates paid in the Civil Service; (c) to regulate shedules of compensation; (d) to test and pass upon the qualifications of applicants for appointment to and promotion in the service, establish employment and reemployment lists, certify names of eligibles for employment and promotion, and numerous other ancillary administrative functions. N.J.S.A. 11:7-1

details the requirements of the classification plan to be established by the Chief Examiner and Secretary and specifies that "the allocation of positions to the several classes by the chief examiner and secretary as provided by law and as approved by the commission, shall place each position to its proper class and each employee whose position has been so allocated shall assume and retain the classification title for his position." N.J.S.A. 11:7-5 requires the Chief Examiner and Secretary to certify as to the continuing need for existing positions and prohibits the creation of new positions until that officer has certified to the appointing department the necessity for such position.

In short, the Chief Examiner and Secretary, subject to the approval of the Commission, is vested by statute with primary, original, administrative authority and responsibility in the broad range of classification of positions, determination of compensation and working status and regulations, and of testing for appointment or promotion and certification of eligibles for either appointment or promotion in the whole range of the state classified service. Moreover, those duties and responsibilities are spelled out by the statute in considerable detail.

The foregoing is not to suggest that in some of the indicated respects it was not contemplated that the operating state departments should initiate requests for action by the Civil Service Department or that in many of them a good deal of cooperation between the other agencies and the Department was not envisaged, if not absolutely essential. But the operative effect of the particular action to be taken, in the categories mentioned, depends under the act upon the prior administrative decision or approval by Civil Service.

A summary of the subdelegation of functions and powers, previously exercised solely by Civil Service under the statute, effected by the President and Chief Examiner and Secretary of the Commission under the rule amendment, is as follows:

1. In the case of all employees at or below the salary range of $13,363 to $17,371, with the ...


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