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LOUSHAY APPEAL (05/27/52)

May 27, 1952

LOUSHAY APPEAL


Appeals, Nos. 115, 116 and 117, Jan. T., 1952, from judgment of Superior Court, Oct. T., 1951, Nos. 85, 86 and 87, affirming judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Bradford County, Sept. T., 1950, No. 110, in re Appeals of J. Lloyd Loushay, John E. Snedeker and R. G. C. Jones from Auditor's Report of Bradford County. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

R. Lawrence Coughlin, for appellants.

John P. Vallilee, for appellees.

Before Drew, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 370 Pa. Page 454]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL

This is an appeal by the county commissioners of Bradford County from the court's order and judgment sustaining the report of the county auditors who surcharged the commissioners $1500. for "expenses" which they paid to themselves as officers of the county institution district for the period July 1-December 31, 1949, pursuant to the Act of May 14, 1949, P.L. 1359, 62 P.S. 2253. The lower court and the Superior Court held that the Act, insofar as it applies to commissioners in office at the time of its enactment, violated Article III, section 13 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania.

Section 303 of the County Institution District Law of June 24, 1937, P.L. 2017, 62 P.S. 2253, provided: "... In every other county [including counties of the sixth class of which Bradford County is one] the commissioners,

[ 370 Pa. Page 455]

    and in every county the treasurer, shall receive no additional compensation for services to the institution district. In every county the commissioners and treasurer shall be allowed their necessary expenses incurred in services for the institution district."

The Act of May 14, 1949, supra, amended Section 303 of the Act of June 24, 1937, supra, to read as follows: "Section 1... Section 303. Salaries and Expenses of Officers. --*fn1 ... [In every other county the commissioners, and in every county the treasurer, shall receive no additional compensation for services to the institution district. In every county the commissioners and treasurer shall be allowed their necessary expenses incurred in services for the institution district.] In addition, every county commissioner shall receive an allowance for expenses incurred in connection with the institution district as follows : ... (5) In sixth class counties, one thousand dollars ($1000) per annum.... Section 2. The provisions of this act shall become effective on July first, one thousand nine hundred forty-nine, and the additional expense allowance provided for herein shall terminate at the end of two (2) years after the effective date."

This Act, by its deletion, repealed that part of section 303 of the Act of June 24, 1937, which allowed the county commissioners their necessary expenses, and in lieu thereof provided that the county commissioners in counties of the sixth class should receive an allowance for expenses of $1,000. per annum effective July 1, 1949, and terminable two years thereafter.

The commissioners -- appellants herein -- were elected in November, 1947, and took office the first Monday of January, 1948. During the latter part of 1949, the county commissioners paid to each of themselves the sum of five hundred dollars or a total of fifteen hundred dollars out of institution district funds as an allowance for expenses in connection with the institution district for the period beginning July 1, 1949, and ending December 31, 1949. None of the commissioners filed an expense account covering that period. It was agreed that the commissioners had filed expense accounts for work in the institution district for previous years in the following amounts: 1945, ...


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