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Civil Service Board of City of Phoenix v. Warren

Supreme Court of Arizona

June 9, 1952

CIVIL SERVICE BOARD OF CITY OF PHOENIX et al.
v.
WARREN et al

Rehearing Denied July 8, 1952.

Judgment affirmed.

Lawrence H. Whitlow, City Atty., and Harold R. Scoville and Charles A. Stanecker, of Phoenix, for appellant and intervenors.

Snell & Wilmer and James A. Walsh, of Phoenix, for appellees.

De Concini, Justice. Udall, C. J., and Stanford, Phelps, and La Prade, JJ., concur.

OPINION

De Concini, Justice.

Page 1158

[74 Ariz. 89] This is an appeal from a judgment of the trial court in favor of petitioners, directing the issuance of a peremptory writ of mandamus to annul a promotional police examination held by the city of Phoenix. The respondents, appellants in this case, constitute both the intervenors and the Civil Service Board of the city of Phoenix. The latter will hereafter be referred to as the Board. The petitioners (appellees) and intervenors were all members of the police department of the city of Phoenix. They all participated in the civil service examination for promotion. The intervenors were successful in their examination and were placed on the eligibility list. The petitioners however were unsuccessful and brought this action. The judgment of the lower court annulled the examination. The case was submitted to the trial court on an agreed statement of facts.

The petitioners contended in the lower court that the examination and the eligibility list established therefrom was invalid, because: (1) The oral tests administered by the Board were invalid in that no competent record of questions was made, contrary to section 1094, Phoenix Municipal Code, 1939. Sec. 5, Part III Phoenix Mun.Code, 1951. (2) There were no service ratings or efficiency records maintained by the Board in scoring the applicants, this being contrary to section 1092, Phoenix Mun.Code, 1939. Sec. 3(10), Part III Phoenix Mun.Code, 1951.

[74 Ariz. 90] The trial court held, in granting the peremptory writ of mandamus that the failure to keep the efficiency service records and ratings as provided for by the ordinance, was fatal. From this finding, the Board and the intervenors appeal. The trial court further found that the oral examination sufficiently complied with the civil service ordinance of the city of Phoenix. From this ruling the appellees cross-appeal.

We will first consider appellants' assignment of error.

The appellants in this case assail the trial court's holding, on the admitted facts, that because the efficiency service records and ratings were not kept by the police department as the ordinance requires, that is not sufficient reason to annul the promotional examination. Their assignment of error is predicated on three propositions of law, two of which can be combined and stated as follows:

Civil service laws should be liberally construed to promote efficiency in government and provide equal opportunities to all who seek to avail themselves of those opportunities.

This proposition of law is incorrect because administrative bodies must comply strictly with civil service laws. We have only to look at the case of Taylor v. McSwain,54 Ariz. 295, 95 P. 2d 415, at page 422, to ...


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