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State v. Angle

Supreme Court of Arizona

June 19, 1939

STATE OF ARIZONA, GUY M. JACKSON, Secretary of Board of Directors of State Institutions, and ANA FROHMILLER, State Auditor, Appellants,
v.
C. A. ANGLE, Appellee

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Maricopa. G. A. Rodgers, Judge. Judgment affirmed.

Mr. Joe Conway, Attorney General, and Mr. Charles Bernestein, his Assistant, for Appellants.

Mr. T. E. Scarborough and Mr. George M. Sterling, for Appellee.

OPINION

Page 706

[54 Ariz. 15] LOCKWOOD, J.

C. A. Angle, plaintiff herein, suing for himself and as assignee, seeks to recover judgment against the state for the difference between the amount paid to him and his assignors as salaries authorized and appropriated for that purpose by subdivision 18 of section 1 of chapter 73 of the regular Session Laws of 1937, and the minimum wage fixed by the Arizona highway commission under the authority of section 1350, Revised Code of 1928, as amended by section 1, of chapter 12 of the regular Session Laws of 1933, which reads, so far as material, as follows:

[54 Ariz. 16] "Hours of Labor On Public Work; Wages. Eight hours, and no more, shall constitute a lawful day's work for all persons doing manual or mechanical labor employed by or on behalf of the state, or of any of its political subdivisions except in an extraordinary emergency, in time of war, or for the protection of property or human life; in such cases the persons working to exceed eight hours each day shall be paid on the basis of eight hours constituting a day's work. Not less than the minimum per diem wages fixed by the state highway commission for manual or mechanical labor performed for said commission or for contractors performing work under contract with said commission, shall be paid to persons doing manual or mechanical labor so employed by or on behalf of the state or of any of its political subdivisions...."

The complaint contains seventeen causes of action, and each one is substantially the same except as to the name of the assignor, the amount of money claimed due, and the character of the labor performed by the latter.

Page 707

Demurrers to the complaint were overruled, and the defendant electing to stand thereon, judgment was entered in favor of plaintiff, whereupon this appeal was taken.

The demurrers necessarily admit the substantial allegations of the complaint, and we, therefore, state the facts as follows. Causes of action numbers 1, 2, 9, 12 and 15 are for manual labor as watchmen at the capitol building. Causes of action numbers 3, 5, 6, 10, 13, 14, 16 and 17 are for manual labor as janitors. Cause of action number 7 is for manual labor as an elevator operator, and cause of action number 11 is for labor as an engineer at the same place. Causes of action numbers 4 and 8 are for manual labor as gardeners on the capitol grounds.

The highway commission, acting under the authority of section 1350, supra, as amended, had, previous to August 1, 1937, fixed a minimum wage for state employees [54 Ariz. 17] of the class to which plaintiff and his assignors belonged, and on that date had changed such wage. The general appropriation bill adopted by the thirteenth legislature, in March, 1937, appropriated money in subdivision 18 thereof, in part, as follows:

"Capitol Buildings and Grounds.

For the 26th

For the 27th

Fiscal Year

Fiscal Year

Salaries and Wages:

Watchman (3 at $1,350.00 each)

$ 4,050.00

$ 4,050.00

Watchman -- Periodic

168.75

168.75

Engineer

1,920.00

1,920.00

Elevator Operator

1,080.00

1,080.00

Janitors (6 at $972.00 each)

5,832.00

5,832.00

Janitor -- Periodic

283.50

283.50

Labor -- Periodic

4,218.75

4,218.75"

Plaintiff and his assignors entered the service of the state at various times before January 15, 1938, and from and after their employment and during the 26th fiscla year, up to June 15, 1938, were paid for their services upon the basis of the amount thus above appropriated as being the annual salary intended by the state to be paid for services of the character performed by plaintiff and his assignors, to wit, $1,350 per year for watchmen, $972 per year for janitors and gardeners, $1,080 per year for elevator operator, and $1,920 per year for engineer. The amount sued for in each cause of action is equal to the difference between the amount fixed in subdivision 18 as the pay which would be due at the annual rate above set forth, and that which would be due if wages were paid on the basis fixed by the state highway commission. No formal claim for the difference was made until June 15, 1938.

The question before us is whether plaintiff and his assignors were entitled to be paid at the rate fixed by [54 Ariz. 18] the annual appropriation bill for the various classes of services rendered, or at the rate fixed by the highway commission, under section 1350, supra, as amended.

It is the contention of plaintiff that this last section, being general legislation, fixes definitely the wage which must be paid to state employees of the class referred to therein, and that the failure by the legislature to appropriate a sufficient amount in the general appropriation bill to pay the wages for their services cannot affect the right of plaintiff to recover the minimum wages fixed by the highway department under the section.

It is the position of defendant, (a) that the services rendered were not mechanical or manual labor within the meaning of section 1350, (b) that section 2618, Revised Code of 1928, which reads so far as material as follows:

"No officer or state agency shall contract any indebtedness on behalf of the state, nor assume to bind the state in excess of the money appropriated, unless expressly authorized by law," and which is a part of the state Financial Code, was expressly made a part of the appropriation act of 1937, in the following language:

"Section 2. The appropriations herein made are subject to the provisions of the State Financial Code,"

and being later legislation than the Minimum Wage Law, repeals the latter as far as plaintiff's claims are concerned, so that the appropriation made in the general appropriation bill of 1937 was, in effect, a limitation upon the indebtedness which could be incurred by the defendant for the purposes set forth in the act, and that any attempt to create ...


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