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04/27/76 SCHOOLCRAFT COUNTY BOARD COMMISSIONERS v.

April 27, 1976

SCHOOLCRAFT COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
v.
SCHOOLCRAFT MEMORIAL HOSPITAL BOARD OF TRUSTEES



Appeal from Schoolcraft, Donald L. Munro, J.

Leave to appeal denied, 397 Mich 838.

Danhof, P. J., and D. E. Holbrook and Allen, JJ.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Statutes -- Interpretation -- Intent of Legislature -- Language of Act -- Scope -- Subject Matter -- Preceding Statutes -- History.

A court in determining the intent of the Legislature in enacting a statute must examine the language of the statute itself, the subject matter under consideration, the scope and purpose of the statute, and other statutes which may have preceded it or which relate to the same subject; the statute should be so construed that all of its provisions are rendered harmonious and recourse may be had to the history of the legislation upon the subject matter of the act.

2. Hospitals -- Chief Executive Officers -- Board of Trustees -- Subsequent Boards -- Resignation of Officers -- Appointments -- Statutes.

The intent of the Legislature in requiring the appointment of the chief executive officer of a county hospital to the initial hospital board of trustees was to also require that officer's appointment to any subsequent board of trustees for that hospital, therefore the appointment to the hospital board of a subsequent chief executive officer is mandatory when a vacancy is created by the resignation of the former chief executive officer (MCLA 331.153; MSA 14.1133).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam

Complaint by the Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners against the Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees seeking a declaratory judgment affirming its choice of one of its own members to fill a vacancy on the defendant board. Judgment for plaintiff in part. Defendant appeals.

The origin of this suit stems from a vacancy on the Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees [hereinafter defendant] created by the resignation of the hospital's chief executive and board member. Plaintiff, Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners, sought to appoint one of its members to the defendant board. Defendant insisted that plaintiff should appoint to the hospital board the new chief executive of the hospital. Plaintiff brought this declaratory judgment action to resolve the dispute. The lower court ruled that although plaintiff could not appoint one of its own members to the defendant board, it was not required by statute to appoint the new chief executive. This appeal followed.

The issue is whether statutory law required continuous appointment of the chief executive officer of a county hospital to the hospital board of trustees. *fn1 The involved statute provides:

"If a majority of all the votes cast upon the question are in favor of establishing a county public hospital, the board of commissioners shall proceed at once to appoint 9 trustees chosen from the citizens at large of the county with reference to their fitness to such office, 1 of whom shall be the chief executive officer of the hospital and not more than 3 of whom may be licensed physicians, who shall constitute a board of trustees for the public hospital. The trustees shall hold their offices until the end of the next following calendar year. In September, prior to the expiration of their terms of office, the board of trustees shall submit to the board of commissioners the names of not more than 2 qualified candidates for each appointment or reappointment. The board of commissioners, at its October meeting, shall appoint for terms commencing next January 1, 3 trustees for 2 years, 3 trustees for 4 years and 3 trustees for 6 years. As terms expire thereafter appointments shall be made for 6 years in the same manner. Appointments to unexpired terms shall be made in the same manner. All appointments and reappointments shall meet general eligibility qualifications hereinbefore stated." MCLA 331.153; MSA 14.1133.

Plaintiff and the lower court take the position that the statute requires a county board of commissioners to appoint the chief executive officer of a county hospital to the initial hospital board of trustees but does not dictate that the board of commissioners appoint the chief executive to any subsequent board of trustees. Defendant asserts that the statute makes no such distinction between the initial and subsequent boards, and that the history and language of the statute manifest a legislative intent that the chief executive must be appointed to any and all boards.

Each respective position of the litigants is not without some foundation and it is the Court's function to determine what the Legislature truly intended. Aikens v Department of Conservation, 387 Mich 495, 499; 198 NW2d 304 (1972), Kizer v Livingston County Board of Commissioners, 38 Mich App 239; 195 NW2d 884 (1972). As stated by our Supreme Court in In re School ...


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