COURT OF APPEALS DECISION
DATED AND RELEASED April 13,1995
STATE OF WISCONSIN IN COURT OF APPEALS
CITY OF JANESVILLE,
WISCONSIN EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS COMMISSION,
JANESVILLE PROFESSIONAL POLICE ASSOCIATION,
Dec. No. 27645-A
APPEAL from an order of the circuit court for Rock County: JOHN H. LUSSOW,
Before Gartzke, P.J., Dykman and Vergeront, JJ.
VERGERONT, J. The Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) and the
Professional Police Association (Association) appeal from an order reversing a decision of
In its decision, WERC declared that a proposal by the Association, which would allow police
officers in the City of Janesville Police Department to obtain arbitration of suspensions
by the City of Janesville Police Chief (police chief) and the City of Janesville Police and Fire
Commission (PFC), is a mandatory subject of bargaining under Sec. 111.70(l)(a), STATS.
conclude that the Association's proposal is not a mandatory subject of bargaining and affirm
order of the trial court.
The relevant facts are undisputed. The Association is a labor organization that
law enforcement employees of the City of Janesville. The City and the Association were
to a 1991 collective bargaining agreement. The agreement contains a three-step grievance
arbitration procedure under which an employee may process a grievance. (1) First, the grievance
is submitted to the chief of police and the chief must respond in writing. Second, if the
is not resolved at step one, the grievance is submitted to the city manager for a written
Third, if the grievance is not resolved at step two, the grievant can request binding
The agreement also provides that the first step of the grievance and arbitration
procedure can be
invoked without prejudicing any right to request a hearing by the PFC. After step one, the
grievant can either pursue a hearing before the PFC or can pursue arbitration, but not both.
Finally, the agreement provides that the grievance and arbitration provision "shall not be
as limiting or abrogating any rights or remedies provided by Wisconsin Statutes."
On January 24, 1992, the Association filed a complaint with WERC alleging that the
committed a prohibited practice by refusing to arbitrate the unpaid suspension of a police
by the police chief. On August 11, 1992, the City filed a petition with WERC for a
ruling, pursuant to Sec. 111.70(4)(b), STATS., on the following issues: (1) Whether a
that would allow an officer disciplined by the PFC to obtain binding arbitration of his or her
discipline rather than seek judicial review of the PFC's decision under Sec. 62.13(5)(i),
is a mandatory subject of bargaining; and (2) Whether a provision that would allow an
disciplined by the police chief to seek binding arbitration rather than a hearing before the
a mandatory subject of bargaining.
On May 7, 1993, WERC issued its decision, concluding that the Association's proposal
mandatory subject of bargaining. WERC stated:
The 1991 collective bargaining agreement noted above, when
interpreted in a manner
necessary to avoid an otherwise irreconcilable conflict with Sec. 62.13, Stats., makes the
grievance and arbitration procedure therein applicable to disciplinary actions imposed by the
Janesville Board of Police and Fire Commissions only if such disciplinary actions have not
appealed to the Circuit Court pursuant to Sec. 62.13, Stats., and then only to the extent that
grievances are subject to processing at no other step than the grievance arbitration step of
The 1991 collective bargaining agreement noted above, when
interpreted in a manner
necessary to avoid an otherwise irreconcilable conflict with Sec. 62.13, Stats., makes the
grievance and arbitration procedure therein applicable to disciplinary actions imposed by the
of Police where the Janesville Board of Police and Fire Commissioner's jurisdiction over
discipline has not been invoked.
The City filed a petition for judicial review of WERC's decision in Rock County
under ch. 227, STATS. On May 6, 1994, the court entered an order reversing the decision
STANDARD OF REVIEW
We review the decision of WERC, not the decision of the trial court. Crawford
WERC, 177 Wis.2d 66, 69, 501 N.W.2d 836, 838 (Ct. App. 1993). In
County of La Crosse
v. WERC, 180 Wis.2d 100, 508 N.W.2d 9 (1993), our supreme court explained the
standard of review as follows:
[N]ormally, WERC's rulings with respect to the bargaining nature
of proposals are entitled
to "great weight." That deference is predicated on the commission's perceived expertise in
collective bargaining matters. Yet, courts of this state have held that such deference is
unwarranted when the proposal in question requires harmonization of the Municipal
Relations Act (MERA) (secs. 111.70-111.77, Stats.) with other state statutes. See,
Brookfield v. WERC, 87 Wis.2d 819, 826-27, 275 N.W.2d 723 (1979)
("Brookfield I"); Glendale
Professional Policemen's Assn. v. City of Glendale, 83 Wis.2d 90, 100-01, 264
(1978). Such legal questions fall within the special competence of courts.
Glendale, 83 Wis.2d
Id. at 107, 508 N.W.2d at 11 (citations omitted). See also Iowa County v.
Courthouse, 166 Wis.2d 614, 618, 480 N.W.2d 499, 501 (1992); Crawford
County 177 Wis.2d
at 70, 501 N.W.2d at 838-39. We therefore review WERC's decision de novo,
it any deference.
The Municipal Employment Relations Act (MERA) establishes the duties of a
to bargain collectively with its employees and to abide by any collective bargaining
agreed upon. Drivers, etc., Local No. 695 v. WERC, 121 Wis.2d 291, 296,
359 N.W.2d 174,
177 (Ct. App. 1984). It sets out three categories of subjects of collective bargaining. A
mandatory subject of bargaining is one primarily related to wages, hours and conditions of
employment. Beloit Educ. Ass'n v. WERC, 73 Wis.2d 43, 50-51, 242 N.W.2d
231, 234 (1976).
A permissive subject of bargaining is one primarily related to the management and direction
the governmental unit. Id. A municipal employer may, but need not, bargain over this
Id. A prohibited subject of bargaining is one that would violate a law. WERC v.
Local No. 563, 75 Wis.2d 602, 612, 250 N.W.2d 696, 701 (1977), overruled on
City of Madison v. Madison Professional Police Officers Assn, 144 Wis.2d 576,
425 N.W.2d 8
The City concedes that the Association's proposal regarding arbitration of disciplinary
primarily related to wages, hours and conditions of employment and, therefore, would
be a mandatory subject of bargaining. However, the City contends that there is an
conflict between the proposal and a specific statutory provision, Sec. 62.13(5), STATS., (3) that
makes the Association's proposal a prohibited subject of bargaining.
The general rule is that collective bargaining agreements arrived at under Sec. 111.70,
and statutes relating to such agreements should be harmonized whenever possible.
166 Wis.2d at 619, 480 N.W.2d at 501; Glendale Professional Policemen's Assn v.
Glendale, 83 Wis.2d 90, 103-04, 264 N.W.2d 594, 601 (1978). However, if there is
irreconcilable conflict between a proposal made under Sec. 111.70, STATS., and a specific
statutory provision, the proposal is a prohibited subject of bargaining. A contract provision
runs counter to an express statutory command is void and unenforceable. See, e.g.,
Local No. 695, 121 Wis.2d at 297-98, 359 N.W.2d at 177-78.
Section 62.13, STATS., regulates municipal police and fire departments and is "an
state-wide concern for the purpose of providing a uniform regulation of police and fire
departments." Section 62.13(12). Section 62.13(1) requires cities with populations of 4,000
more to create a PFC with jurisdiction over the hiring, promotion and discipline of members
police and fire departments.
Section 62.13(5), STATS., governs discipline of subordinates within police and fire
Under Sec. 62.13(5)(c), a subordinate to the chief of police may be suspended by the chief
PFC for cause as a penalty. The police chief must file a report of the suspension and the
subordinate is entitled to a hearing before the PFC if he or she so chooses. Id. If the
requests a hearing before the PFC, the chief must file charges with the PFC upon which the
suspension was based. Id.
Under Sec. 62.13(5)(b), STATS., charges may be filed against a subordinate by the
member of the PFC, the PFC as a body, or by any aggrieved person. After the filing of
the PFC must hold a public hearing on the charges to determine whether the charges should
sustained. Section 62.13(5)(d). After the hearing, if the charges are sustained, the PFC has
authority to suspend, reduce in rank, suspend and reduce in rank, or remove the subordinate,
the good of the service may require." Section 62.13(5)(e). The subordinate may appeal an
decision of the PFC to the circuit court, and the circuit court determines whether the order of
PFC was reasonable. Section 62.13(5)(i). If the circuit court sustains the PFC's order, the
is "final and conclusive." Id.
I. DISCIPLINE IMPOSED BY PFC
WERC acknowledges that under Sec 62.13(5), STATS., the PFC has the ultimate
suspend subordinates and the exclusive authority to reduce in rank and remove subordinates.
However, citing Fortney v. Sch. Dist. of West Salem, 108 Wis.2d 167, 321
N.W.2d 225 (1982),
WERC argues that the Association's proposal can be harmonized with the PFC's statutory
authority and, therefore, is a mandatory subject of bargaining. (4)
In Fortney, the issue was whether an arbitration panel appointed pursuant
to a grievance procedure
in a collective bargaining agreement could hold a de novo factual hearing to determine
just cause existed for a school board to terminate a teacher. Fortney, 108
Wis.2d at 169, 321
N.W.2d at 228. The school board argued that it was vested by statute with exclusive
to hire and fire teachers and that the determination of whether there was just cause to
the teacher could not be transferred from the school board to an arbitration panel. The
board acknowledged that the discharged employee was entitled to file a grievance on whether
board's determination of just cause was supported by credible evidence and was not arbitrary
capricious. However, the school board contended that the arbitration panel's review of the
cause determination should have been limited to a certiorari review of the factual record
upon by the school board in reaching its decision, and should not have been the subject of a
novo hearing conducted by the arbitration panel. Id. at 177, 321 N.W.2d at 232.
Our supreme court recognized that pursuant to Sec. 118.22(2), STATS., school boards
exclusive power to hire and fire teachers, subject to the teacher's constitutional right to due
process.(5) Id. at 174, 321 N.W.2d at 230.
The court noted, however, that the power to
discharge teachers may be limited by the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement
into by the board with the union under MERA. Id. at 175, 321 N.W.2d at 230-31. The
then reiterated the principle that although collective bargaining agreements arrived at under
statutes relating to matters contained in such agreements are to be harmonized wherever
an arbitrator's decision must be vacated if it is inconsistent with or violative of a statutory
provision. Applying this principle, the court concluded:
[H]armonizing the collective bargaining agreement provisions with
the Board's power to
discharge set forth in sec. 118.22(2), Stats., leaves the Board with the exclusive right to
an employe, but requires that just cause exist for the discharge. If the employe contends
no just cause for discharge, he may process a grievance through the procedure contained in
agreement. If that grievance goes to arbitration, the arbitrators, under the terms of the
may make an independent determination of whether there was just cause for the discharge,
on whatever procedures they deem necessary to reach that determination.
Fortney, 108 Wis.2d at 179-80, 321 N.W.2d at 233.
Fortney does not control this case. There, the bargaining agreement could
be harmonized with
the statute because, although Sec. 118.22(2), STATS., gave the board the exclusive power to
teachers, it did not provide for who determines whether just cause exists for discharge. The
school board could therefore agree to have an arbitration panel perform that function. In
the PFC not only has the ultimate authority to suspend employees and the exclusive authority
reduce in rank and remove subordinates, it is also expressly charged with determining
charges filed against a subordinate should be sustained at a public evidentiary hearing. See
62.13(5)(d), STATS. It is inconsistent with that statutory charge to permit a subordinate
dissatisfied with a PFC decision to seek arbitration of essentially the same issue decided by
PFC. This is not a harmonization of the Association's proposal with the PFC's statutory
authority. Rather, under the Association's proposal, the PFC's order, which under Sec.
62.13(5)(i), STATS., is "final and conclusive" unless reversed by the circuit court, becomes
We consider Milwaukee Police Assn v. City of Milwaukee, 113 Wis.2d
192, 335 N.W.2d 417
(Ct. App. 1983), to be more on point than Fortney. In Milwaukee Police
Assn, the issue was
whether the termination of a probationary police department employee was arbitrable under a
collective bargaining agreement. We stated that to allow an arbitrator to reinstate a
probationary officer would destroy the PFC's power to limit the selection of police officers
statutorily founded bases. Id. at 196, 335 N.W.2d at 419. We explained:
Were we to so read the collective bargaining agreement to allow
such a termination to be
arbitrable, we would be allowing a general contractual term to govern over an express power
select as vested in police chiefs and boards granted in sec. 62.13(4), Stats.,
. . .
If an arbitrator may reverse the board's or
chief's exercise of discretion in terminating a
probationary employe and reinstate him, the board's or chief's decision becomes
may then always be overridden by an arbitrator.
Id. at 196-97, 335 N.W.2d at 419.
The appellants contend that our decision in Milwaukee Police Assn must
be limited to the precise
issue in that case, namely, whether the termination of a probationary police officer may be
subject to a grievance and arbitration provision. We disagree. We recognize that
Police Assn did not involve the authority to discipline officers, but instead involved
to examine and select officers under Sec. 62.13(4), STATS., and the training and
of probationary officers under Sec. 165.85, STATS. However, just as the collective
provision in that case "would, in effect, ultimately transfer to the arbitrator the chief's or the
board's power to determine that an officer should advance from probationary to permanent
or should be terminated during probation," id. at 197, 335 N.W.2d at 419, the collective
bargaining proposal in this case would transfer to an arbitrator the PFC's power to determine
whether charges against a subordinate should be sustained. This transfer of authority is
under Milwaukee Police Assn.
Crawford County v. WERC, 177 Wis.2d 66, 501 N.W.2d 836 (Ct. App.
1993), reaches a similar
result, although with a different statute. In Crawford County, the union
proposed to include, inter
alia, appointed deputies of the Crawford County Register of Deeds (register) and Clerk of
Court (clerk) under the terms and conditions of the union's collective bargaining agreement,
argued that this proposal was a mandatory subject of bargaining. Id. at 68, 501 N.W.2d at
The county objected to the union's proposal, contending that the proposal impermissibly
with the statutory powers of the register and clerk to appoint and discharge their deputies
then-existing Sec. 59.38(1) and 59.50, STATS.
WERC declared that the proposal was a mandatory subject of bargaining. We
We think the union's proposal in this case does much more. With
respect to the register of
deeds and clerk of courts, at least, we believe it does not merely restrict their authority to
fire deputies; ... we believe the proposal effectively abrogates that authority.
Crawford County, 177 Wis.2d at 73, 501 N.W.2d at 839. See
also Iowa County, 166
Wis.2d at 620, 480 N.W.2d at 502.
The appellants contend Crawford County must be read as an exception to
Fortney in those
instances where the removal authority is vested in a state officer or other person who
local presence of the state. We believe this reading of Crawford County is too
narrow. It is true
that we based our holding in Crawford County in part on the fact that the
register and clerk
"perform to a significant degree the business of the people of the state" and, therefore, while
county had the authority to bargain with the union on wages and conditions of employment of
employees, that authority did not extend to bargaining away the statutory power of these
to appoint and discharge deputies. Crawford County, 177 Wis.2d at 772 501
N.W.2d at 841-42.
However, we also based our holding in Crawford County on the more general
proposition that the
union's proposal was irreconcilable with the statutory authority of the register and clerk to
and fire deputies because the proposal "effectively abrogated that authority." Id. at 73, 501
N.W.2d at 839. Like the proposal did in Crawford County, the proposal here
would abrogate the
This case is distinguishable from Glendale Professional Policemen's Ass'n v.
City of Glendale,
83 Wis.2d 90, 264 N.W.2d 594 (1978), a case relied on by appellants. In
Glendale, a provision
in the collective bargaining agreement between the city and its police officers provided that
promotions were to be based on seniority. The issue was whether that provision could be
harmonized with a city charter law giving the police chief the power to promote
subject to approval by the PFC. Id. at 93, 264 N.W.2d at 597. The Glendale
court was able to
harmonize the collective bargaining agreement and the chief's statutory powers because the
bargaining agreement's seniority provision applied only to situations where there was more
one qualified candidate for promotion. Id. at 106, 264 N.W.2d at 602-03. It did not require
police chief to select an unqualified person because of that person's seniority. Id. According
the court, the bargaining agreement's provision did not abrogate the police chief's authority,
"merely restrict[ed] the discretion that would otherwise exist." Id. at 103, 264 N.W.2d at
Here, the Association's proposal eliminates, not limits, the PFC's statutory authority if
subordinate decides to seek arbitration following the PFC's decision. Under the proposal,
arbitrator's function would not be to review the PFC's decision within the limited scope
by court review. See Sec. 62.13(5)(i), STATS. ("The question to be determined by the court
be: Upon the evidence was the order of the board reasonable?"). (6) Since the arbitrator may
choose to hold a hearing de novo, as WERC acknowledges, the hearing before the PFC
a step having no function in the process. Presumably, if the subordinate ultimately seeks
review, the review would be of the arbitrator's decision, not of the PFC's decision.
II. DISCIPLINE IMPOSED BY POLICE CHIEF
The Association contends that its proposal allowing an officer suspended by the police
obtain arbitration of the suspension rather than a hearing before the PFC is a mandatory
of bargaining. We disagree.
Under Sec. 62.13(5), STATS., a subordinate may be suspended by the police chief in
two ways. First, Sec. 62.13(5)(b) provides that charges may be filed against a subordinate
chief. The charges shall be in writing and the charges shall be filed with the president of the
Id. Pending disposition of the charges, the police chief may suspend the subordinate. Id.
Following the filing of charges, a copy shall be served on the subordinate and the PFC shall
a date for a public hearing, at which the subordinate and the complainant may be represented
an attorney and may compel the attendance of witnesses by subpoenas. Section 62.13(5)(d).
Second, the police chief may suspend a subordinate as a penalty. Section 62.13(5)(c). The
chief shall then file a report of the suspension and the subordinate is entitled to a hearing
the PFC if he or she so desires. Id.
The mandatory language of Sec. 62.13(5)(d), STATS., indicates that a hearing before
is required for suspensions imposed by the police chief upon charges. The statute clearly
that upon the filing of charges against a subordinate, a hearing shall be held. The statute
give the officer a choice of whether or not to "invoke" the PFC's jurisdiction. We addressed
similar issue in Drivers, etc., Local No. 695 v. WERC, 121 Wis.2d 291, 359
N.W.2d 174 (Ct.
App. 1984). There, WERC appealed from a judgment reversing its ruling that the city of
Greenfield had no duty to bargain collectively with a union on provisions of a labor
regarding layoff and recall of police officers. The labor agreement provided that in the event
layoff, the employee with the least seniority in the bargaining unit shall be laid off first. The
argued that this provision was in irreconcilable conflict with Sec. 62.13(5m), STATS., which
provides that when it becomes necessary to reduce employees in police and fire departments,
'subordinates shall be dismissed in the order of the shortest length of service in the
We reversed the judgment of the trial court, concluding:
In this case sec. 62.13, Stats., is specific to police and fire
departments. It sets forth detailed
prescriptions on matters sec. 111.70, Stats., does not address. Section 62.13 describes more
narrowly the areas in which municipal police and fire departments may bargain than the
municipal employee statute, sec. 111.70. We conclude that sec. 111.70, in the absence of
62.13, could be interpreted to permit a collective bargaining agreement that provided layoff
bargaining unit seniority, since if sec. 111.70 stood alone the statutes would be silent on the
matter. However, because sec. 62.13, specifically prohibits layoff in police and fire
on any other basis than length of service in the department, we conclude that the legislature
expressly prohibited bargaining any contract provision that violates that statute.
Id. at 298, 359 N.W.2d at 177-78.
The appellants contend that the quoted language is dicta and cannot be read as
resolving the issue of whether a subordinate may seek arbitration rather than a hearing before
PFC. However, at least with respect to Sec. 62.13(5)(d), STATS., we believe the reasoning
Drivers, etc., Local No. 695 applies. Section 62.13(5)(d) provides that the PFC
shall conduct a
hearing on the charges. As did the court in Drivers, etc., Local No. 695, "we
conclude that the
legislature has expressly prohibited bargaining any contract provision that violates [the]
Id. at 298, 359 N.W.2d at 178.
As for suspensions imposed by the police chief as a penalty under Sec. 62.13(5)(c),
conclude that although the statute provides that a hearing shall be held only if requested by
subordinate, the legislature's intent is clear that an officer wishing to challenge a suspension
do so before the PFC. We construe the phrase "requested by the suspended subordinate" to
that an officer suspended as a penalty need not challenge the suspension at all. We do not
to say that an alternative method of challenging a suspension as a penalty is acceptable.
We conclude that the Association's proposal giving a subordinate suspended by the
the right to arbitrate the suspension rather than seek a hearing before the PFC is not a
subject of bargaining because it is in irreconcilable conflict with Sec. 62.13(5), STATS.
By the Court.-Order affirmed.
DYKMAN, J. (dissenting). The standard by which we review WERC's decision
outcome of this case. The majority determines that it should independently review WERC's
decision. It concludes that the Janesville Professional Police Association's proposal giving a
suspended subordinate the right to arbitrate a suspension is not a mandatory subject of
We were required to determine the appropriate standard of review in a case much like
Drivers, Salesmen, Warehousemen, Milk Processors, Cannery, Dairy Employees
& Helpers Local
No. 695 v. WERC, 121 Wis.2d 291, 359 N.W.2d 174 (Ct. App. 1984). In that
construed Sec. 62.13(5m), STATS., and Sec. 111.70(1)(d), STATS. In determining the
appropriate standard of review, we considered the arguably conflicting language of
Professional Policemen's Ass'n v. City of Glendale, 83 Wis.2d 90, 100-01, 264
N.W.2d 594, 600
(1978), City of Brookfield v. WERC, 87 Wis.2d 819, 827, 275 N.W.2d 723,
Boynton Cab Co. v. DILHR, 96 Wis.2d 396, 405-06, 291 N.W.2d 850, 855
Arrowhead United Teachers Org. v. WERC, 116 Wis.2d 580,594, 342 N.W.2d
709, 716 (1984).
Drivers, 121 Wis.2d at 294-96, 359 N.W.2d at 176-77. We concluded that we
Arrowhead and give due weight to WERC's interpretation because it was the
most recent supreme
court case on the subject. Id. at 296, 359 N.W.2d at 177.
Now, County of La Crosse v. WERC, 180 Wis.2d 100, 107, 508 N.W.2d
9, 11 (1993), is the
most recent case on the standard of review we are to use when WERC interprets a section of
Municipal Employment Relations Act (MERA), Sec. 111.70-111.77, STATS., with other
Wisconsin statutes. However, although County of La Crosse used a de novo
standard, it did not
overrule or distinguish Arrowhead or Drivers. Thus, if there were
nothing more than the
precedent of Arrowhead and Glendale, one would expect that in
County of La Crosse, the
supreme court would have followed its most recent precedent, Arrowhead.
Purtell v. Tehan, 29
Wis.2d 631, 636, 139 N.W.2d 655, 658 (1966). Since it did not do so, we should examine
County of La Crosse to determine the reason for using a de novo standard of
review. The answer
is found in the court's explanation:
Moreover, deference is particularly unwarranted in this case
because our decision today is
based upon a characterization of the case that was neither presented to nor addressed by
during its original determination.
County of La Crosse, 180 Wis.2d at 107, 508 N.W.2d at 11.
In a memorandum accompanying its findings of fact, conclusions of law and
WERC considered the potential conflict between Sec. 62.13, STATS., and the provisions of
collective bargaining agreement. The issue in the case before us was presented to and
by WERC. Had the supreme court been presented with the facts of this case rather than
found in County of La Crosse, there is no reason to believe that it would not
have followed its
most recent precedent, Arrowhead, and given deference to WERC's decision.
That is what I
would do in this case, thereby affirming WERC and reversing the circuit court's order.
1. A grievance is defined in the agreement as
[A] controversy between the Association and the City or between
any member or group of
members of the Association and the City as to any matter involving the interpretation of this
Agreement, any matter involving an alleged violation of this Agreement in which a member
the Association or a group of members of the Association or the City maintains that any of
rights or privileges have been impaired in violation of this Agreement, and any matter
2. The agreement provides: "It is the express
intention of the parties by this paragraph to limit
only the right of the individual member for availing himself of two simultaneous appeal
3. All references to Sec. 62.13, STATS., are to the
1991-92 statute, unless otherwise
4. Although the issue of whether the provisions of
Sec. 62.13(5), STATS., preclude the
commencement of separate arbitration proceedings in dismissal cases arose in Racine
Police Comm'n v. Stanfield, 70 Wis.2d 395, 234 N.W.2d 307 (1975), our supreme
court did not
reach the issue. Id. at 402, 234 N.W.2d at 311.
5. The teacher's constitutional right to due process
required just cause for discharge and a
6. Section 62.13(5), STATS., was amended by 1993
Wis. Act 53, effective November 25,
1993. Sections 62.13(5)(c) and 62.13(5)(em) provide that no subordinate may be suspended
the police chief or PFC as a penalty, and no subordinate may be reduced in rank, suspended
reduced in rank, or removed by the PFC unless the PFC determines that there is just cause to
sustain the charges. In making its determination, the PFC must apply seven specific
Section 62.13(5)(i) provides that upon judicial review, the question before the court is no
whether, upon the evidence, the order of the PFC was reasonable, but rather, whether the
evidence establishes that there was just cause to sustain the charges against the subordinate.
However, under Boynton Cab Co. v. DILHR, 96 Wis.2d 396, 400 n.2, 291
N.W.2d 850, 852
(1980), we apply the statute as it existed prior to the amendment.