298 N.E.2d 129 (Ohio 1973), 72-102, State ex rel. Fry v. Ferguson

Docket Nº:72-102, 72-194 and 72-233.
Citation:298 N.E.2d 129, 34 Ohio St.2d 252
Opinion Judge:C. WILLIAM O'NEILL, Chief Justice. O'NEILL, C.J.
Party Name:The STATE, ex rel. FRY, v. FERGUSON, Auditor of State, et al. The STATE, ex rel. BOEHM, v. LEGATT, Treasurer, Ohio State University, et al. The STATE, ex rel. KAISER, v. FERGUSON, Auditor of State, et al.
Attorney:William J. Brown, Atty. Gen., Robert B. Meany, Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, Duke W. Thomas and Jacob E. Davis, II, Columbus, for respondents. Messrs. Lucas, Prendergast, Albright, Gibson, Brown & Newman, Mr. John A. Brown, and Mr. Jerry L. Riseling, for relators., Mr. William J. Brown, attorney...
Judge Panel:HERBERT, CORRIGAN, STERN, CELEBREZZE, WILLIAM B. BROWN and PAUL V. BROWN, JJ., concur.
Case Date:June 20, 1973
Court:Supreme Court of Ohio
 
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Page 129

298 N.E.2d 129 (Ohio 1973)

34 Ohio St.2d 252

The STATE, ex rel. FRY,

v.

FERGUSON, Auditor of State, et al.

The STATE, ex rel. BOEHM,

v.

LEGATT, Treasurer, Ohio State University, et al.

The STATE, ex rel. KAISER,

v.

FERGUSON, Auditor of State, et al.

Nos. 72-102, 72-194 and 72-233.

Supreme Court of Ohio.

June 20, 1973

Syllabus by the Court

Mandamus will lie to compel the responsible officials to pay classified state employees at the rates of pay provided by statute. (R.C. 143.10(A).)

Relators in these three cases are classified employees of the state of Ohio. They seek the issuance of writs to mandamus to compel the respondents to pay them, retroactive to January 1, 1972, the full amount of salary provided for their respective pay ranges and steps under R.C. 143.10(A). At the time of filing these actions, relators were being paid at an hourly rate less than that provided in R.C. 143.10(A).

The officials, statutorily responsible for paying the salaries of classified state employees, are respondents.

Lucas, Prendergast, Albright, Gibson, Brown & Newman, John A. Brown and Jerry L. Riseling, Columbus, for relators.

William J. Brown, Atty. Gen., Robert B. Meany, Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, Duke W. Thomas and Jacob E. Davis, II, Columbus, for respondents.

Page 130

[34 Ohio St.2d 253] C. WILLIAM O'NEILL, Chief Justice.

Relators contend, and respondents admit, that the laws of Ohio impose a clear legal duty upon the respondents to pay relators the full salary which they demand in this action.

Respondents, however, argue that they are unable to comply with the Ohio law because 'the law of Ohio has been superseded by federal law * * *.' The federal law to which respondents refer is the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970, as amended. Pub.L. No. 91-379, 84 Stat. 799; Pub.L. No. 91-588, 84 Stat. 1468; Pub.L. No. 92-8, 85 Stat. 13; Pub.L. No. 92-15, 85 Stat. 38; Pub.L. No. 92-210, 85 Stat. 743.

Section 203(a) of that Act authorizes the President '* * * to issue such orders and regulations as he (may deem appropriate) to stabilize prices, rents, wages, and salaries at levels not less than those prevailing on May 25, 1970 * * *.'

On October 16, 1971, the President established a Pay Board '* * * composed of fifteen members' which '* * * shall perform such functions with respect to the stabilization of wages and salaries as the (Cost of Living) Council delegates to the Board.' Exec.Order No. 11,627, 3 C.F.R. 587 (Supp.1972). Following that executive order, the Pay Board adopted regulations concerned, inter alia, with 'pay stabilization.'

Section 201.10 of those regulations, in pertinent part, provided:

'Effective on and after November 14, 1971, the general wage and salary standard (hereinafter referred to as the 'standard') is established as 5.5 percent. The standard shall apply to any wage and salary increase payable with respect to an appropriate employee unit pursuant to an employment contract entered into or modified on or after November 14, 1971, or to a pay practice established, modified or administered with discretion on or after November 14, 1971. Except as otherwise provided in the Regulations under this title or by decision of the Pay Board, the standard shall be used to compute the maximum permissible wage and salary increase.' 6 C.F.R. 46 (Supp.1972). [34 Ohio St.2d 254]

Also, Section 101.28 of the regulations of the Cost of Living Council provided:

'* * * Approval, however, must be granted by the Pay Board for any pay adjustment in excess of 5.5 percent which affects the employees of state and local governments.' 6 C.F.R. 7 (Supp.1972).

On January 20, 1972, the Governor of Ohio signed into law S.B. No. 147, amending R.C. 143.10(A), which provided pay increases for classified state employees retroactive to January 1, 1972. At that time the above cited regulations of the Pay Board and Cost of Living Council were in effect.

The pay increase provided through the amendment to R.C. 143.10(A) exceeded the 5.5 percent standard established by...

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