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SNYDER v. BARBER (06/28/54)

June 28, 1954

SNYDER, APPELLANT,
v.
BARBER, APPELLANT



Appeals, Nos. 13 and 22, May T., 1954, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, 1952, Equity Docket No. 2017 and Commonwealth Docket No. 42, in case of John J. Snyder v. Charles R. Barber, State Treasurer and Weldon B. Heyburn, Auditor General, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Decree affirmed. Bill in equity. Decree entered for plaintiff in amount of claim without interest, opinion by KREIDER, J. Plaintiff and defendant, respectively, appealed.

COUNSEL

Sabato M. Bendiner, with him Frank W. Hatfield and Busser & Bendiner, for plaintiff.

Harry F. Stambaugh, Special Counsel, with him Frank F. Truscott, Attorney General, for Commonwealth.

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

Author: Musmanno

[ 378 Pa. Page 378]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

On August 20, 1936, John J. Snyder was appointed to the Milk Control Board, and when that Board was

[ 378 Pa. Page 379]

    replaced by the present Milk Control Commission he was chosen and confirmed as a member of the Commission for a term of four years ending May 1, 1941, to continue until a successor should be selected and qualify.

Since no successor was appointed to succeed him on May 1, 1941, he continued in office until March 5, 1953, when a successor having qualified, Snyder's services terminated. During this entire incumbency Snyder was paid a salary of $6,000 per annum, even though the Legislature had increased the salaries of the Members of the Milk Control Commissions, by the Act of June 30, 1947, P.L. 1173, sec. 1 from $6,000 per annum to $6,750 per annum, and by the Act of April 28, 1949, P.L. 776, sec. 3 from $6,750 per annum to $10,000 per annum.

The State Treasurer refused to pay Snyder the higher salaries, interposing as a bar to such increases in compensation Section 13 of Article III of the Pennsylvania Constitution: "No law shall extend the term of any public Officer, or increase or diminish his salary or emoluments, after his election or appointment."

On March 3, 1953, Snyder brought an action in equity against Charles R. Barber, State Treasurer and Weldon B. Heyburn, Auditor General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to compel them to pay him the amounts due under the legislative salary increases. The defendants filed preliminary objections to the Bill, urging the constitutional limitation about quoted. The preliminary objections were overruled and leave was granted the defendants to answer. The answer, however, merely reiterated the constitutional bar and the Court prepared to grant judgment on the pleadings. Before ...


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