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Abramson v. Farrell

Decided: December 12, 1972.

HYMAN S. ABRAMSON ET AL., APPELLANTS,
v.
JOHN J. FARRELL, CHIEF EXAMINER AND SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, RESPONDENT. ROBERT J. BERISH ET AL., APPELLANTS, V. JOHN J. FARRELL, CHIEF EXAMINER AND SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, RESPONDENT. IN THE MATTER OF THE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION, NEW JERSEY STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, A NEW JERSEY CORPORATION, REPRESENTING CERTAIN PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION -- HAY APPEAL. ROBERT MICAI, WILLIAM BROWN, ORVILLE ABBOTT, GEORGE HUTCHINSON, JOSEPH R. SMITH, JOHN SHANER, AND HENRY JUSTUS, APPELLANTS, V. NEW JERSEY CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, RESPONDENT. NICHOLAS C. MAIDA, APPELLANT, V. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE, RESPONDENT. IN THE MATTER OF STATE COLLEGE LIBRARIANS, I AND II, 10 MONTHS AND 12 MONTHS -- HAY APPEAL. IN THE MATTER OF THE DISTRICT INHERITANCE TAX SUPERVISORS, HAY REPORT APPEALS. IN THE MATTER OF SENIOR APPEALS EXAMINERS, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, HAY REPORT APPEAL



Gaulkin, Lora and Allcorn.

Per Curiam

[122 NJSuper Page 33] The above-entitled appeals were argued at the same time. Since most of the questions involved and the arguments for reversal are substantially similar in all eight cases, this opinion will deal with all of them.

The appellants are State employees who appeal from the salaries allocated to their job titles by the Civil Service Commission (hereafter Commission). The steps that led up to the appeals, beginning with the hiring of the management consultant firm of Edward Hay and Associates, are summarized in In re Senior Appeals Examiners , 60 N.J. 356, 358-360 (1972), and need not be repeated here. However, it is necessary to add some details as to what happened between the hearings before the Hay appeals panels and the final action of the Commission fixing the salaries.

It appears from the record (as supplemented on November 15, 1972 by our order) that the procedure was as follows. After receiving the "information supplied by the appellant" (60 N.J. supra , at 360) the panel sent a questionnaire to the Division of Classification, State Services (hereafter Classification) and the Division of Research and Planning (hereafter Research) of the Department of Civil Service, designed to elicit the information which the regulations adopted by the Commission governing the appeal procedures stated was to be obtained from Classification and Research and was to be considered by the panels (60 N.J. supra , at 360). After these questionnaires were answered by Classification and Research, the panel met and decided upon its recommendation. The recommendation was made in writing on forms prepared by the Commission for that purpose, and indicated whether all three members of the panel agreed. If there was a dissent by one of the three, the reasons for the dissent were given. The panels made no findings of fact, although sometimes they gave reasons for their recommendations. The recommendations were then delivered to the Civil Service Commission, together with the transcripts of the hearings.

On March 23, 1971 a meeting was held at which there were present Mr. William Druz, Deputy Chief Examiner and Secretary of the Department of Civil Service (hereafter Deputy Chief); Mr. John Cornell, Director of the Division of Classification; Mr. Ralph Shaw, Director of the Division

of Research and Planning, and Mr. Robert DeNicholas, Mr. Willard Thompson, and Mrs. Marilyn Riley, the three employees of the Department of Civil Service who served on the appeals panels. No stenographic record was made or minutes kept of that meeting. The supplemental appendix describes what happened at that meeting:

At the meeting of March 23, 1971 the recommendations [of the appeal panels] were submitted * * *. The disputed titles were discussed at the meeting of March 23, 1971 as follows: When the three members of a Hay Appeals Board had made a unanimous recommendation to either deny, uphold or modify a salary range change and the Directors of the Divisions of Classification and Research and Planning concurred in that recommendation, the Deputy Chief Examiner and Secretary approved the recommendation as submitted. The same procedure was followed when the vote in favor of a recommendation was 4 to 1, i.e., one dissenting opinion from either a member of the Hay Appeals Board or one of the above mentioned Divisions. When the vote on the proposed recommendation was 3 to 2 and two of the Civil Service staff members were in the minority, there was prolonged discussion concerning the title and the merits of the appeal. The Deputy Chief Examiner and Secretary considered all of the recommendations in favor and against the proposed action and stated his recommendation for resolution of the appeal. * * *

[ In the Matter of State College Librarians (A-2187-70) was not taken up at that meeting. See Point III infra.]

The Deputy Chief's recommendations to resolve such 3-2 appeals was reduced to writing and submitted to the Commission at its meeting of March 30, 1971, together with the following:

The respective recommendations of the Hay Appeals Boards and the Divisions of Classification and Research and Planning were prepared for submission to the Civil Service Commission by the Civil Service representatives on the Hay Appeals Boards. The respective appeals were segregated in the following five categories: a) unanimous recommendations of the Hay Appeals Boards and the respective Divisions of Classification and Research and Planning to uphold or change the salary range assigned to the title in question; b) a 4 to 1 vote in favor of sustaining or changing the assigned salary range; c) a 3 to 2 majority recommendation to sustain or change the assigned range; d) a 3-2 majority recommendation to sustain or change the assigned range (two professional Civil Service staff members

in the minority) with the recommendation of the Deputy Chief Examiner noted; and e) recommendations concerning classification problems to be resolved by the Division of Classification rather than a salary range problem to be resolved through the Hay Appeals Board procedure. The recommendations of the panels and the Divisions were submitted to the Civil Service Commission. * * * There were no other writings or recommendations presented to the Civil Service Commission, other than a summary reference sheet described infra.

The proceedings at the meeting of the Civil Service Commission on March 30, 1971 are described as follows:

A stenographic record was not made of the proceedings of the Civil Service Commission on March 30, 1971. The [panel] recommendations were submitted * * *. The Civil Service Hay Appeals Board Representatives prepared a reference sheet on all disputed titles for each Civil Service Commissioner in attendance at the meeting. The sheet contained information regarding the department of State government, title, pre-Hay range, range as of June 27, 1970 and the recommended range as established by the meeting of March 23, 1971. The presentation was made by the Civil Service Hay Appeals Board Representative familiar with the disputed title. In some instances appeals were resolved by the Civil Service Commission after a review of the summary reference sheet referred to above and the recommendations [of the panels and Classification and Research] and, in some instances, an additional oral summary was presented by the Hay Appeals Board Representative to the Commission and a colloquy ensued between the Civil Service Commission and the Hay Appeals Board Representative regarding the merits of the appeal. [The records of the Civil Service Commission do not indicate] * * * the precise manner in which the present eight cases were presented to the Civil Service Commission.

The major contentions common to the appeals are (a) the Commission had no right to "sub-delegate its responsibility to the Hay Appeals Board"; (b) the members of the Civil Service Commission did not read the testimony presented before the panels; (c) neither the panels nor the Commission made findings of fact; and (d) the opinions and recommendations of Classification and Research were accepted and relied upon by the ...


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