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Welch v. The State Board of Social Security & Welfare

Supreme Court of Arizona

February 13, 1939

OLGA WELCH, Plaintiff,
v.
THE STATE BOARD OF SOCIAL SECURITY AND WELFARE, W. P. MAHONEY, ETHER HAYNIE, ANGELA HAMMER, M. B. HODGES and BERNARD MacDONALD, as Members of the State Board of Social Security and Welfare; HARRY W. HILL, as State Commissioner of the State Department of Social Security and Welfare of the State of Arizona; HARRY W. HILL, as Executive and Administrative Officer of the State Department of Social Security and Welfare of the State of Arizona; HARRY W. HILL, as Secretary of the State Board of Social Security and Welfare of the State of Arizona; and ANA FROHMILLER, as State Auditor of the State of Arizona, Defendants

Original proceeding in Mandamus. Peremptory writ ordered issued.

Messrs. Wilson & Wilson, for Plaintiff.

Mr. Joe Conway, Attorney General, Mr. Earl Anderson, Special Assistant Attornsy General Mr. Edward P. Cline, Assistent Attorney General, and Mr. J. R. McDougal, of Counsel, for Defendants.

OPINION

Page 110

[53 Ariz. 168] LOCKWOOD, J.

This is a petition for a writ of original mandamus by Olga Welch, hereinafter called plaintiff, against the State Board of Social Security and Welfare, Harry W. Hill as commissioner of the State Department, and Ana Frohmiller as state auditor, [53 Ariz. 169] praying that they be directed to issue a warrant to plaintiff in payment for certain services rendered by her to the Maricopa County Board of Social Security and Welfare.

The case involves a consideration and interpretation of chapter 69, Session Laws of 1937, commonly known as the "Social Security Act," and comes before us on an agreed statement of facts. These facts may be summarized as follows: John A. Foote, Roy McCarthy and R. M. Jamison composed the Maricopa County Board of Social Security and Welfare, created under the provisions of chapter 69, supra. They had employed plaintiff as a social work supervisor, in conformity with the instructions, rules and regulations relating to personnel theretofore issued by the state board under the provisions of section 8 of the act, and the state board had agreed to pay plaintiff the sum of $165 per month for her services as such social work supervisor.

On December 28, 1938, Harry W. Hill, who was at that time the commissioner of the state department, wrote a letter to the county board calling attention to certain charges made by the Works Progress Administration against plaintiff, and stating:

"... You will please check into this and if you find that this has been done, it is imperative that this party be removed from her position at once.

...

"Please advise me at once as to what action you take in this matter."

On January 5, 1939, the county board replied, stating in substance that they had made a full investigation of the matter complained of, and "... the Board feels that this mistake, which any prudent person might have made, does not warrant dismissal at this time," but adding that the matter was not closed, and if the state board wished a further investigation, [53 Ariz. 170] it would be glad to assist therein, and if new facts were uncovered which would warrant plaintiff's dismissal, it would be glad to see that the dismissal was made. On January 6th the commissioner replied to this letter as follows:

"Pursuant to the authority vested in the State Board of Social Security and Welfare and the Commissioner by the provisions of Chapter 69, Session Laws 1937, and more particularly the provisions of Subdivision (b) of Section 10, of said Chapter, you are hereby directed to discharge Mrs. Olga Welch as an employee of your department at one, for the reasons stated in my letter to Mr. Finch under date of December 28, 1938.

"In the event that you fail to discharge this party, it will be necessary for me as the executive head of the State Department of Social Security and Welfare, acting under the authority of the Board, to discharge ...


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