City of Evansville v. State ex rel. Blend

Decision Date24 April 1889
Docket Number14,841
Citation21 N.E. 267,118 Ind. 426
PartiesThe City of Evansville et al. v. The State, ex rel. Blend et al
CourtIndiana Supreme Court

From the Vanderburgh Circuit Court.

The judgment is reversed, with costs.

D. B Kumler, H. A. Mattison, A. Gilchrist and C. A. DeBruler, for appellants.

J. S Buchanan, C. Buchanan and P. W. Frey, for appellees.

Berkshire J. Mitchell, J., dissents, for the reasons given in State, ex rel., v. Denny, ante, pp. 382, 411. Elliott, C. J.


Berkshire, J.

The complaint filed by the appellees alleges that the Legislature of the State of Indiana passed an act which became a law on the 7th day of March, 1889, pursuant to which the relators were elected and duly qualified as members of the metropolitan police and fire board for the city of Evansville, with full power and control over the police and fire departments, and police department of said city, and full control over the property and records of said city belonging to the said departments.

It is alleged that the appellants refuse to recognize the authority of the relators, and refuse to turn over said property and records to them, and the prayer is for a writ of mandate to compel the appellants to recognize the authority of the appellees, relators, and requiring them to turn over the property of the city, together with the records belonging to the police and fire departments of the city.

An alternate writ is sued, to which two returns were made. The city of Evansville, John H. Dannettell, mayor of said city Henry S. Bennett, John B. Uphaus, Thomas J. Groves, John Ingle, Henry Stockfleth, William Koelling, George Koch, William Heyns, Albert C. Rosencranz, Frederick J. Scholz, William W. Ross and Albert Johann, members of the common council, made one return, Alexander H. Foster, Edward E. Law and Adolph Goeke, members of the metropolitan police board, and George W. Newitt, the superintendent of the police department, made the other.

The court sustained demurrers to the returns, and a peremptory writ was ordered for want of a sufficient return.

It is disclosed in the record that the city of Evansville received its charter from the Legislature on the 27th day of January, 1847, and that by the charter the common council was given the control and management of the finances and of all the property of the city, and was authorized to purchase fire engines and fire apparatus, to organize fire companies, and to regulate and govern them; and that, under and by virtue of its charter, the said city has established a fire department, and the common council has managed the same for forty years, and acquired property for the use of said fire department to the value of $ 100,000.

The record presents the following questions for consideration, all of which relate to the validity of the act of March 7th, 1889, and upon the determination of which the rights of the parties depend:

1. Is the act in violation of section 21, article 4 of the Constitution, which provides that no act shall be revised or amended by reference to its title, but that the act revised and section amended shall be set forth in full?

2. Is the act in violation of section 19, article 4, which requires that every act shall embrace but one subject and matters properly connected therewith?

3. Is the act in violation of section 23, article 4, which provides that when a general law can be passed it shall be general, and operate uniformly throughout the State?

4. Are the commissioners composing the metropolitan police and fire board officers who require commissions from the Governor to authorize them to qualify and enter upon the duties of their offices?

5. Is the act properly authenticated, or, rather, is there competent evidence of its having received such legislative sanction, after having received the Governor's disapproval, as to make it a law, if otherwise constitutional?

6. Is the act in violation of section 23, article 1 of the Constitution, which provides that the General Assembly shall not grant privileges or immunities to any citizen or class of citizens which upon the same terms shall not belong to all citizens?

7. Is the act in violation of the Constitution, in that it deprives the people of the city of Evansville of the right of local self-government?

8. Is the act in violation of the Constitution, in so far as it gives to the Legislature the power to appoint the commissioners composing the metropolitan board, and conferring upon the board the power to appoint inferior officers and employ policemen, firemen, etc.?

Since the appeal was taken it has been dismissed as to the city of Evansville, but this makes no difference in the consideration and determination of the case.

The title of the act is as follows: "An act providing for a board of metropolitan police and fire department in all cities of this State of twenty-nine thousand or more inhabitants according to the United States census of eighteen hundred and eighty, prescribing how the first members of said boards shall be elected and commissioned, and how their successors shall be appointed. Providing for the organization of the board, defining the duties of the commissioners composing the board, and of the boards; providing for the appointment of superintendent, officers, patrolmen, and other members of the police force, and for the appointment of a chief fire engineer, officers, firemen, and other employees of the fire department of such cities, and the manner of paying them for their services, giving said board full authority over the fire department of said cities, and authorizing the board to purchase all supplies, engines, ladders, wagons, horses and all equipments for said fire department, and prescribing how the bills for the same shall be audited, certified and paid; providing for the abolition of existing boards of police and fire department in such cities, and of the office of city marshal in such cities, and providing for other matters connected with the government of the police and fire department of such cities, repealing all laws in conflict with this act, especially an act providing for a metropolitan police in all cities of twenty-nine thousand inhabitants, etc., Acts 1883, p. 89, and declaring an emergency." Acts of 1889, p. 222.

Section 1 of this act provides that in all cities of this State where the population equalled twenty-nine thousand, according to the census of 1880 as taken by the United States government, there shall be established a metropolitan board of police and fire department, to consist of three commissioners; the members of the first board to be elected by the General Assembly, one of whom shall be of opposite politics to the other two; the secretary of the Senate and speaker of the House of Representatives to furnish a certificate of election to each commissioner, which is to be his authority to act as a member of the board. The said commissioners must have been residents of their respective cities for five years preceding their election.

Section 2 gives the board power to elect a secretary and property clerk, and requires him to give bond in such an amount and with such sureties as the board may see proper to require, and he shall receive such compensation as the board may fix, not to exceed $ 1,500 per annum, and hold his office at the pleasure of the board.

Section 3 provides that the board shall have power to select a superintendent of police, captains, sergeants, detectives and such other officers and patrolmen as the board may deem advisable. These are to be selected equally between the two leading political parties of said city. These persons are to receive such compensation as the board shall determine, the superintendent not less than $ 1,000 nor more than $ 2,000; a captain not less than $ 700 nor more than $ 1,200; a sergeant not less than $ 600 nor more than $ 1,000; a patrolman not less than $ 550 nor more than $ 800 per annum. The compensation for all other officers and employees shall be fixed and determined by the board, not to exceed $ 1,000 per annum. The board is empowered to remove or suspend all officers and persons employed on either force, at any time.

Section 4 gives full control of both departments to the board and the custody and control of all property, including station-houses, city prisons, patrol wagons, books, records and equipments belonging to the police department, and all engine-houses, engines, ladders, hose-reels, horses, wagons, books, records and all equipments and property of every description belonging to the fire department.

Section 5 provides that the board shall, immediately after its organization, assume and exercise the entire control of the fire department, and employ a chief engineer at a salary not to exceed $ 2,000 per annum, appoint firemen and all necessary employees of the fire department and fix their compensation, and that they shall be selected equally between the two leading political parties of the city.

Section 6 provides that it shall be the duty of the board of aldermen and the board of common council, when there are the two, and when but one, the duty of the common council, to provide, at the expense of the city, all necessary accommodations within the city limits for station-houses, hook and ladder-houses, to furnish the same, to warm and light the same by day and by night, and to provide food for persons in the station-house, to provide at the expense of the city for the expense of the fire department incurred in the purchase of engines, ladders, hose, horses, or other necessary equipments ordered by said board, and for all expense incurred by said board in administering the fire department of said city; also, for such office expenditures, records, books, stationery,...

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2 cases
  • State ex rel. Harvey v. Wright
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • June 28, 1913
    ...236 Mo. 142; State ex rel. v. Public Schools, 134 Mo. 296; Owen v. Baer, 154 Mo. 434; Beardstown v. Virginia, 76 Ill. 34; Evansville v. State, 118 Ind. 426; State ex v. Holt, 118 Ind. 449; Rathbone v. Wirth, 150 N.Y. 459; Rogers v. Buffalo, 123 N.Y. 173; Shaw v. Marshalltown, 131 Iowa 128, ......
  • City of Evansville v. State ex rel. Blend
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • April 24, 1889

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