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147511 - MI Ass'n of Governmental Employees v State of MI

Michigan Association of Governmental Employees,
Brandon Zuk
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Ct of Claims – Draganchuk, J.)
State of Michigan and Office of the State Employer,
Margaret A. Nelson


Plaintiff Michigan Association of Governmental Employees (MAGE) reached an agreement with the Michigan Office of the State Employer (OSE) to jointly recommend salary increases of 0%, 1%, and 3% for fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011. Both parties made the agreed-upon recommendations in 2009 and 2010, but in 2011, the OSE deviated from the agreement and recommended no salary increase. The Michigan Civil Service Commission did not increase salaries that year.  MAGE filed a lawsuit against the defendant State of Michigan in the Court of Claims alleging, among other things, breach of contract. The trial court denied the State of Michigan’s motion for summary disposition, and the Court of Appeals affirmed in an unpublished opinion. On February 3, 2016, the Supreme Court directed the Clerk to schedule oral argument on the application.  The parties were asked to address whether MAGE’s breach of contract claim is cognizable in the Court of Claims, given that the Civil Service Commission has constitutional authority to “fix rates of compensation” for the classified service, Const 1963, art 11, § 5, and given that the relief that MAGE requests is not available unless the Civil Service Commission reconsiders its rate-setting decision.