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James v. Camden County Council Number 10 of New Jersey Civil Service Association

Decided: November 8, 1982.

WILLIAM F. JAMES, PLAINTIFF, AND DAVID POLNIAK, PLAINTIFF-INTERVENOR,
v.
CAMDEN COUNTY COUNCIL NUMBER 10 OF THE NEW JERSEY CIVIL SERVICE ASSOCIATION AND MILDRED DIFANTE, PRESIDENT, INDIVIDUALLY, JOINTLY, SEVERALLY AND IN THE ALTERNATIVE, DEFENDANTS



Deighan, J.s.c.

Deighan

[188 NJSuper Page 253] This matter comes before the court basically to determine the validity of Art. VII, § 2B, of the constitution of defendant Camden County Council Number 10 of the New Jersey Civil Service Association, which is a public employee labor association

representing civil servants of Camden County. Art. VII, § 2B, of the Council's constitution requires that all those seeking nomination or election to office "must have attended at least all general membership meetings of the Council [reported by the sergeant-at-arms]," in the prior election year.

Plaintiffs originally sought to have their names included on the ballot, to enjoin defendant from interfering with their right to be on the ballot and to postpone the meeting for elections. The intervening plaintiff, David Polniak, amended his complaint to declare that Art. VII, § 2B, unreasonable and therefore invalid and unenforceable.

Plaintiff William F. James' nomination for president was rejected by the nomination committee because he attended only three out of the five general membership meetings during the election year which runs from October to September. Plaintiff Polniak's nomination for vice-president was rejected for the same reason, but additionally it was impossible for Polniak to comply with the eligibility requirements for the September 1982 election. He was not initiated into Council 10 until after the October 1981 general membership meeting and there were only four general membership meetings remaining in the election year.

On the return day of the order to show cause the parties entered into the following stipulation:

1. There are between 2,200 and 2,300 members of Council 10;

2. Pursuant to Art. VII, § 2B, attendance at five out of five general membership meetings occurring from October 1, 1981 to September 1982 is required for eligibility for election to office;

3. Membership attendance at the last five meetings of Council 10 was: October 1981, 34 present; November 1981, 29 present; February 1982, 50 present; March 1982, 56 present; September 1982, 45 present;

4. Under Art. VII, § 2B, of the Constitution only 15 members are eligible to run for office;

5. There are no excused absences from attending union meetings except for union business;

6. All members of Council 10, including plaintiffs, would be eligible for candidates ...


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