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CITY OF LAUREL, MISSISSIPPI v. NATHANIEL SAMUELS AND MARVA SAMUELS

MAY 22, 1985

CITY OF LAUREL, MISSISSIPPI
v.
NATHANIEL SAMUELS AND MARVA SAMUELS



BEFORE PATTERSON, DAN LEE AND SULLIVAN

JUSTICE DAN LEE FOR THE COURT:

On February 1, 1977, Nathaniel Samuels was employed by the City of Laurel in the office of City Planner as a community organization worker. His salary was $800 per month payable from funds of B-75-HN-08-0008 community development entitlement. By order of the Mayor and Board of Commissioners Marva Samuels was hired by the City of Laurel on November 13, 1979, as a special worker in the community development department at a salary of $750 per month. On the 25th day of August, 1981, separate orders of the mayor and board of commissioners suspended both

Nathaniel Samuels and Marva Samuels from their employment with the city due to" budget cuts and overstaffed. "

 The Samuelses then sought an investigative hearing from the Civil Service Commission, City of Laurel. They complained that they were not properly dismissed and were entitled to be reinstated to their positions with the City. The Civil Service Commission, City of Laurel, responded by stating that as an employee of the City of Laurel, the Samuelses were not subject to civil service regulations. The Samuelses then appealed that decision to the Circuit Court of Jones County. That court reversed the civil service commission and held that the Samuelses were subject to civil service procedures and regulations. The City now brings this appeal from the circuit court's ruling.

 The central issue here is whether the Samuelses, as City of Laurel employees, were protected under the civil service system as established by our state legislature. There are two sets of civil service systems operating under legislative mandate in the State of Mississippi. The first system was established by Miss. Code Ann. 21-31-1 21-31-27. Under 21-31-1 that system is applicable to the following municipalities:

 (a) Any municipality, operating under a commission form of government, and having a population of not less than fourteen thousand, according to the federal census of 1940;

 (b) Any municipality, under whatever form of government, having a population of not less than twenty-four thousand, according to the federal census of 1940, and situated in counties having a national military park;

 (c) Any municipality, operating under the commission form of government, and having a population of not less than ten thousand, five hundred nor more than eleven thousand, according to the federal census of 1950;

 (d) Any municipality, having an aldermanic form of government, having a population of not less than 4770 at the 1960 federal census, and situated on the Mississippi Gulf Coast;

 (e) Any municipality with its corporate limits being bounded on one side by the Mississippi River and being located in a county having an assessed valuation in excess of forty million dollars but less than fifty million dollars and having a total population in excess of thirty-seven thousand, five hundred, according to the latest federal census; and

 (f) Any municipality, operating under special charter, and in which there is located a state-supported college for women.

 From a reading of all of the code sections establishing that civil service system, it becomes apparent that it was intended only to cover employees of the fire and/or police departments of the municipalities coming within its purview. See 21-31-13 which expressly limits applicablity of the section to" all full paid employees of the fire and police departments of each municipality. . . "

 The second civil service system was created by Miss. Code Ann. 21-31-51 - 21-31-75. That system is applicable as follows:

 (1) There is hereby created a civil service commission to administer a civil service system in every municipality described in subsection (2) of this section which has administrative ...


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