California State Employees' Assn. v. State of California

Citation32 Cal.App.3d 103,108 Cal.Rptr. 60
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Decision Date04 May 1973
PartiesCALIFORNIA STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION et al., Petitioners and Appellants, v. The STATE of California et al., Defendants and Respondents. Civ. 13670.

Mohi, Morales, Dumas & Glasman, by Frank C. Morales, Los Angeles, for petitioners and appellants.

Thomas J. Cunningham, John E. Landon, John P. Sparrow, Berkeley, for defendant and respondent Regents.

Evelle J. Younger, Atty. Gen. by Anthony S. DaVigo, Deputy Atty. Gen., Sacramento, for other defendants and respondents.

REGAN, Associate Justice.

Plaintiffs California State Employees' Association, et al., filed two separate actions for declaratory relief and writs of mandamus on behalf of all of the employees of the state whose salaries or wages are established either by the State Personnel Board, the Trustees of the California State Colleges (now the Trustees of the California State University and Colleges), or the Regents of the University of California. For purposes of trial and pretrial proceedings the two matters were consolidated.

The complaints for declaratory relief asked the court to interpret and declare plaintiffs' rights with regard to the standard by which their salaries should be established and adjusted. The petitions for writ of mandamus asked that defendants be directed to adjust the salaries and wages of each person in their employ 'found by them in their establishment of salaries and wages to be receiving less than the prevailing salary or wage . . . at least equal to the salary or wage being paid in outside employment.'

Defendant Regents interposed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. The other defendants demurred to the alleged causes of action applicable to them.

Seven defendants were designated by name in these two actions--the State of California, the Governor, the Legislature, the State Personnel Board, the Trustees of the California State Colleges, the Regents of the University of California, and the State Controller.

In complaint and petition No. 203440, plaintiffs seek to compel the payment of wage increases to state civil service employees and employees (academic and nonacademic) of the California State Colleges and of the University of California for the fiscal year 1969--1970.

In complaint and petition No. 203622, plaintiffs seek to compel the payment of wage increases to state civil service employees and the nonacademic employees of the California State Colleges and of the University of California for the fiscal year 1970--1971.

After the trial court ruled in favor of defendants this appeal followed: 1

Section 18850 of the Government Code provides: 'The (State Personnel) board shall establish and adjust salary ranges for each class of position in the state civil service. The salary range shall be based on the principle that like salaries shall be paid for comparable duties and responsibilities. In establishing or changing such ranges consideration shall be given to the prevailing rates for comparable service in other public employment and in private business. The board shall make no adjustments which require expenditures in excess of existing appropriations which may be used for salary increase purposes. The board may make a change in salary range retroactive to the date of application for such change.' 2

Section 22607 of the Education Code provides, in part: 'The trustees (of the California State University and Colleges) shall establish and adjust the salaries and classifications of all academic, nonacademic, and administrative positions and neither Section 18004 of the Government Code nor any other provision of law requiring approval by a state officer or agency for such salaries or classifications shall be applicable thereto. In establishing and adjusting such salaries, consideration shall be given to the maintenance of the state colleges in a competitive position in the recruitment and retention of qualified personnel in relation to other educational institutions, private industry or public jurisdictions which are employing personnel with similar duties and responsibilities. The establishment and adjustment of salaries for nonacademic employees shall be in accordance with the standards prescribed in Section 18850 of the Government Code. The trustees, however, shall make no adjustments which require expenditures in excess of existing appropriations available for the payment of salaries.'

Based upon these two code sections, plaintiffs' argument appears to be as follows: The exclusive power to establish the salaries and wages of civil service and state college employees is reposed in the Legislature. (See People v. Coleman (1854) 4 Cal. 46, 49.) By virtue of the enactment of the two foregoing statutes, the Legislature effectively delegated the duty to the State Personnel Board and the college trustees to establish the salaries and wages of the state employees within their respective jurisdiction. (Gov.Code, § 18850; Ed.Code, § 22607, see also Cal.Const., art. XXIV (State Civil Service).) The standards for establishing salaries in these two statutes impose mandatory duties upon the State Personnel Board and the college trustees. 3 Thus, the Legislature may not arbitrary withhold funds to pay increases in salaries established to be due. Nor is the Governor a part of the salary-fixing process, and therefore his veto of a salary appropriation by the Legislature to meet the obligation for prevailing salary increases 'created' by the personnel board and the college trustees is a nullity. Finally, plaintiffs contend the board and the trustees must adjust the salaries and wages of the employees by providing increases to at least the extent that funds are appropriated. 4

Plaintiffs' contentions must fail. Their entire argument is nothing more than a thinly disguised attempt to circumvent pertinent provisions of our state Constitution. Regardless of what standard is to be applied by the salary-fixing agencies, the constitutional power of the Legislature and the Governor cannot thereby be curtailed or limited.

Section 21 of article XIII of our Constitution provides, in part, that 'No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriation made by law . . ..' It has long been established that 'the power to collect and appropriate the revenue of the State is one peculiarly within the discretion of the Legislature.' (Myers v. English (1858) 9 Cal. 341, 349; see Cal.Const., art. IV, § 1.) The Legislature may not divest itself of its constitutionally granted powers. (Slavich v. Walsh (1947) 82 Cal.App.2d 228, 235, 186 P.2d 35.) Further, the Governor has exclusive discretion to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature. (Cal.Const., art. IV, § 10, subd. (a).) He also has the power to 'reduce or eliminate one or more items of appropriation . . ..' (Cal.Const., art. IV, § 10, subd. (b).) Thus, plaintiffs' contention that the Legislature 'effectively delegated' its constitutional power to fix salaries to the State Personnel Board and the college trustees, thereby divesting itself of its inherent authority to limit or restrict appropriations therefor, is without merit. And, of course, the Legislature could not curb the Governor's constitutional right of the veto power.

A careful reading of the statutes also shows that the Legislature expressly placed limitations on the delegation of authority. They read, in part as follows: 'The board shall make no adjustments which require expenditures in excess of existing appropriations which may be used for salary increase purposes.' (Gov.Code, § 18850.) 'The trustees, however, shall make no adjustments which require expenditures in excess of existing appropriations available for the payment of salaries.' (Ed.Code, § 22607.) Finally, and in this connection, section 9610 of the Government Code provides: 'The fixing or authorizing the fixing of the salary of a State officer or employee by statute is not intended to and does not constitute an appropriation of money for the payment of the salary. The salary shall be paid only in the event that moneys are made available therefor by another provision of law.'

In any event, the courts have no authority to compel a separate and equal branch of state government to make appropriation of funds. At the time of the filing of this action, section 1 of article III of the state Constitution provided: 'The powers of state government are legislative, executive, and judicial. Persons charged with the exercise of one power may not exercise either of the others except as permitted by this Constitution.' 5 As stated in Myers v. English, supra, 9 Cal. at page 349: 'We think the power to collect and appropriate the revenue of the State is one peculiarly within the discretion of the Legislature. It is a very delicate and responsible trust, and if not used properly by the Legislature at one session, the people will be certain to send to the next more discreet and faithful servants.

'It is within the legitimate power of the judiciary, to declare the Action of the Legislature unconstitutional, where that action exceeds the limits of the supreme law; but the Courts have no means, and no power, to avoid the effects of Non-action. The legislature being the creative element in the system, its action cannot be quickened by the other departments. Therefore, when the Legislature fails to make an appropriation, we cannot remedy that evil. It is a discretion specially confided by the Constitution to the body possessing the power of taxation. There may arise exigencies, in the progress of human affairs, when the first moneys in the treasury would be required for more pressing emergencies and when it would be absolutely necessary to delay the ordinary appropriations for salaries. We must trust to the good faith and integrity of all the departments. Power must be placed somewhere, and...

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