R. Lawrence Coughlin, Wilkes-Barre, Philip V. Mattes, Scranton, Amici Curiae for Pa. State Associate of County Commissioners.
William L. Wilson, Athens, for J. Lloyd Loushay.
W. G. Schrier, Athens, for John E. Snedeker, Andrew S. Moscrip, Towanda, Pa., for R. G. C. Jones.
John P. Vallilee, Athens, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.
[ 169 Pa. Super. Page 545]
These appeals are by the County Commissioners of Bradford County from judgment entered on a surcharge by the County Auditors of Bradford County. The surcharge covered payments made to themselves as officers of the county institution district pursuant to Act of May 14, 1949, P.L. 1359.
Appellants, under the Act of May 14, 1949, P.L. 1359, which amends section 303 of the County Institution
[ 169 Pa. Super. Page 546]
District Law of June 24, 1937, P.L. 2017, 62 P.S. § 2253, were severally granted 'In addition, * * * an allowance for expenses incurred in connection with the institution district * * *, one thousand dollars ($1,000) per annum; * * *.' Section 2 of the Act of May 14, 1949, P.L. 1359, 62 P.S. § 2253 note, made the provisions of the Act effective on July 1, 1949, and provided that 'the additional expense allowance provided for herein shall terminate at the end of two (2) years after the effective date.' Appellants were elected to the office of county commissioner in November, 1947; they took office on the first Monday of January, 1948; and they were serving by virtue of such election during the last six months of 1949. Bradford County is a county of the sixth class.
Acting under the amendatory Act of May 14, 1949, P.L. 1359, 62 P.S. § 2253, providing for an additional allowance for expenses incurred in connection with the institution district, appellants paid themselves the sum of $500 each, a total of $1,500, for the last six months of 1949. Upon the audit of the commissioners' accounts for 1949, the County Auditors of Bradford County surcharged appellants the sum of $1,500. In so doing the auditors found that the payment of this money was without authority of any valid law. On appeal from this surcharge the Court of Common Pleas of Bradford County, after hearing, entered an order dismissing the exceptions to the report of the auditors for the year 1949, sustained the surcharge in the amount of $1,500, and directed that judgment be entered against appellants, the county commissioners, jointly and severally.
On their appeals to this Court, appellants contend (1) that the $1,000 allowance for annual expenses is a reasonable additional expense allowance, and not within the constitutional prohibition against an increase in salary or emoluments of a public officer during the term of his office; (2) that the ...