APPEALED FROM: CERTIFIED QUESTIONS FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, SOUTHERN DIVISION. Sam C. Pointer, TRIAL JUDGE.
Released for Publication April 26, 1996.
Houston, Justice. Hooper, C. J., and Maddox, Shores, and Kennedy, JJ., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Houston
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division, pursuant to Rule 18, Ala.R.App.P., has certified two questions of law to this Court.
"Whether the Alabama Legislature in establishing the county-wide Civil Service System under Act. No. 248 (1945), as amended by Acts No. 677 and 782 (1977), intended for all common laborers to be part of the unclassified service or only for common laborers who are not employed on a full-time basis and are not required to devote their time and services exclusively to such counties and municipalities to be part of the unclassified service?
" What statutory power or authority, if any, does the Personnel Board of Jefferson County have to bring the position of common laborer within the classified service system under Act No. 248 (1945), as amended by Acts No. 677 and 782 (1977)?"
The legislature, in establishing the county-wide civil service system under Act No. 248, as amended by Act No. 677 and Act No. 782, intended for all "common laborers" to be part of the unclassified service. As a result, the personnel board has no statutory authority to incorporate "common laborers" into the classified service.
BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION
The following background information was set forth by the district court for our consideration in answering these certified questions:
"This lawsuit arises out of the alleged discriminatory and unconstitutional treatment of common laborers by Defendant Personnel Board of Jefferson County as well as other Defendants. Taken under submission by this court are a number of motions for summary judgment filed by the various parties in this case based if not totally, at least partially, upon Act No. 248 (1945) -the Enabling Act -- as most recently amended by [Acts] 677 and 782 (1977). The Enabling Act establishes a county-wide Civil Service System for areas with a population size of 400,000 or more persons that affects certain personnel whose compensation is paid in whole or in part by public funds from such counties or municipalities located within such jurisdictions. Section 2 of Act No. 248 creates county personnel boards and limits the bodies' authority to govern persons holding positions in the classified service. As amended by Act No. 782, Section 2 of Act No. 248 defines the unclassified and the classified services as follows:
"'The unclassified service shall include: All employees or appointees of a city or county board of education, or a library board; persons engaged in the profession of teaching or in supervising teaching in the public schools; officers elected by popular vote; the Judge of any court; the county attorney; the director of personnel; the county health officer, provided, however, that if any law or laws now or hereafter enacted shall cause the offices of all other county health officers in the State of Alabama to become subject to any state or county civil service or merit system now or hereafter established, in such event the office of county health officer in each county subject to the provisions of this Act shall be a position in the classified service as herein defined; one private secretary of a member of the governing body and of each officer except Judges elected by vote of the people; internes [sic], resident physicians, resident dentists, student technicians and student nurses, while undergoing training in a county health department or in a hospital maintained by public funds; common laborers, members of boards who are not employed on a full-time basis and are not required to devote their time and services exclusively to such counties and municipalities therein ; attorneys, physicians, surgeons and dentists who with the express or implied permission of an appointing authority or of such county or city hold themselves out for employment by others in the same or a like line of work as that performed by them for such appointing authority; where there are two county sites or county courthouse sites maintained in one county and a county officer or officers are required to ...