Washington Law Review




Respondent Beam was Chief Examiner and Secretary to the Spokane Civil Service Commission. About two years before the instant action, the Commission requested Beam to retire. When he refused, the Commission was instrumental in reducing his pay and in demoting him by creating a position superior to his for another person. Beam successfully brought action to have his duties restored and to set aside the new position created by the Commission. Subsequently, the Commission members investigated Beam's conduct, formed conclusions, promulgated charges, transmitted accusations personally signed by four of the five board members to the City Manager and recommended his discharge. The City Manager, pursuant to the recommendation, notified Beam of his discharge. Beam sought review, but since the Spokane City Charter designates the city Civil Service Commission as the sole tribunal to hear appeals from an employment discharge, he requested the Commission to disqualify itself. The Commission refused. Beam then sought superior court review of his discharge in place of a hearing before the Civil Service Commission, alleging that, under the circumstances, he would not be accorded a fair hearing before the Commission. On certiorari asking a determination of the superior court's jurisdiction in the matter, the Washington Supreme Court held that the Civil Service Commission was disqualified from hearing Beam's appeal and that the superior court was possessed of inherent jurisdiction to hear and determine the controversy on the merits. State ex rel. Beam v. Fulwiler, 76 Wn. 2d 313, 456 P.2d 322 (1969).

First Page