Paul A. Irwin, Jr.
Jefferson County Personnel Board and the City of Trussville
from Jefferson Circuit Court (CV-17-76)
Irwin, Jr., appeals from a final judgment of the Jefferson
Circuit Court dismissing his claim for injunctive relief
against the Jefferson County Personnel Board ("the
Board") and the City of Trussville
("Trussville"), a municipality located in Jefferson
County. We dismiss the appeal.
Facts and Procedural History
case arises from Trussville's desire to hire a police
chief following the retirement of its former police chief.
The position of police chief is a classified civil-service
position. Under the provisions of § 45-37-121 et seq.,
Ala. Code 1975 (Local Laws, Jefferson County)("the
enabling act"), the Board is vested with the authority
to regulate the appointment procedure of classified
civil-service positions in Jefferson County. In accordance
with rules established by the Board, Trussville, on January
3, 2017, submitted a request to the Board to fill the
position of "Police Chief II." In response, on
January 3, 2017, the Board provided Trussville with a
certified list of 10 eligible candidates.
certified list of candidates--referred to in the rules of the
Board as the "Certificate of Eligibles" --provided
to Trussville is generated from an eligibility list. That
eligibility list for the position of police chief had been
created by the Board in 2014 and consisted of qualified
applicants ranked based on the results of a competitive
assessment examination. Irwin's name appeared on the
interviewed Irwin and two other candidates from the certified
list. Trussville did not hire Irwin or any other candidate
from the certified list supplied by the Board in January
2017. Instead, Trussville returned the list to the Board and
requested that the Board administer a new test for the
position of Police Chief II. On January 23, 2017, the Board
"expired" the eligibility list. On January 27,
2017, the Board also approved Trussville's request to
hire a provisional police chief until such time as a new
assessment examination could be administered and a new
eligibility list generated.
March 1, 2017, Irwin sued the Board and Trussville,
contending that, once the Board issued to Trussville a
certified list of eligible candidates for the position of
police chief, Trussville was required to hire a candidate
from that list and had no discretion to leave the position
unfilled. The complaint sought only injunctive relief.
Specifically, it requested an order:
"1. Halting the examination for Chief of Police by the
"2 Restraining any appointments unless it is the name of
a candidate that appeared on the [January 2017] list of
eligible police chief candidates.
"3. Restraining the [Board and Trussville] from any
other actions in this case that are in violation of the
"4. Directing the City of Trussville to make an
appointment pursuant to the Enabling Act.
Irwin's complaint was accompanied by a motion for a
temporary restraining order ("TRO"). On March 9,
2017, Irwin filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. On
March 22, 2017, the trial court denied Irwin's motion for
a TRO and set the motion for a preliminary injunction for an
the hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction, Irwin
accepted the job of police chief with the City of Pell City.
Upon notice of Irwin's acceptance of a police-chief
position with another municipality, the trial court invited a
written response from Irwin as to whether his action against
the Board and Trussville had been rendered moot by his
accepting a police-chief position with another municipality.
Irwin responded that the action had not been rendered moot
because, he said, he remained a qualified candidate for the
Trussville police-chief job and that, notwithstanding his
acceptance of the Pell City police-chief job, he still wanted
to be the police chief for Trussville. On April 19, 2017, the
trial court entered an order in which it concluded that
Irwin's action was not moot but that "the relief he
would hereafter pursue would be in the nature of money
damages." The trial court denied Irwin's motion for
a preliminary injunction and continued the evidentiary
April 20, 2017, Irwin moved the trial court to reconsider its
order denying the preliminary injunction. In that motion,
Irwin explained that his desire to be the Trussville police
chief was born of his family's strong ties to the
Trussville community and that money damages would not
adequately compensate him for the loss of the opportunity to
serve as Trussville's police chief. The trial court did
not immediately rule on Irwin's motion to reconsider.
22, 2017, Trussville filed a motion to dismiss Irwin's
action or, in the alternative, for a summary judgment. On May
31, 2017, the Board also filed a motion to dismiss or, in the
alternative, for a summary judgment.
2, 2017, the trial court conducted a hearing on Irwin's
motion to reconsider the denial of his preliminary-injunction
motion and the ...