State ex rel. Musick v. Londeree

In State ex rel. Musick v. Londeree, 145 W.Va. 369,115 S.E.2d 96 (1960), a South Charleston police sergeant filed a writ of mandamus in circuit court arguing that the promotion of a lieutenant to a captain's position created a vacancy for a lieutenant's position in the City's police department. When asked, the City of South Charleston stated that it did not have a vacancy to be filled. The Court in Musick held that unless a municipality's charter or ordinance requires a fixed number of lieutenants, the discretion to determine whether a vacancy exists rests with the municipality. "The City of South Charleston not being required by its charter or otherwise to have any particular number of lieutenants in its police department, the power to determine whether an alleged vacancy as to any office of such a lieutenant exists, or whether any such vacancy must be filled, rests in the discretion of the council of that city. Courts can not assume that such a vacancy exists, or that any such vacancy must be filled, merely on a showing that some person has ceased to exercise the functions of such an office." (Syllabus Point 3)