Appeal, No. 233, March T., 1957, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1953, No. 2472, in case of Gilbert Newman Harvey v. The Retirement Board of Allegheny County. Judgment reversed; reargument refused May 24, 1958.
John P. Hester, with him Hoffman & Hester, for appellant.
Frank Reich, for appellee.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno, Arnold, Jones and Cohen, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN
We are called upon in this appeal to review once again the provisions of the Retirement Act of Allegheny County, and to determine the nature of the interests acquired thereunder by county employes.
The plaintiff, Harvey, began his employment with Allegheny County on May 1, 1928, as a guard in the County Workhouse and Inebriate Asylum. On that date, the Pension Act of May 8, 1919, P.L. 138, was in effect. The act provided for contributions by county employes to the County Pension Fund of one per cent of their monthly salaries. In return, upon reaching the age of fifty years after having been in the employ of the county for a period of not less than twenty years, each employe was entitled to receive a pension equal to fifty per cent of his average annual salary to a maximum monthly amount of $100.
Five years later, while Harvey continued his employment with the county, the legislature substantially
changed the retirement system of Allegheny County. The Act of May 22, 1933, P.L. 840, made sweeping changes in the retirement program, and insofar as relevant to this appeal, increased the rate of employe monthly contributions to the pension fund from one to three per cent, and increased the voluntary retirement age from fifty to sixty years, provided that if after twenty years of service an employe were separated from county employment "by reason of no cause or act of his own," he might nevertheless retire at age fifty with full benefits. Two years later the Act of April 4, 1935, P.L. 12 increased employe contributions from three to five per cent of their monthly earnings and raised the maximum monthly amount payable to $10. Finally, the Act of May 31, 1947, P.L. 354, further increased the maximum monthly amount of contributions to the system from $10 to $15, and, at the same time, also increased the maximum monthly retirement allowance obtainable by an employe from $100 to $150.
Harvey continued as an employe of the county until his separation from the service on February 28, 1951, being then over fifty years of age and having been employed continuously for almost 23 years. It is indisputed that Harvey had fulfilled all requirements necessary to obtain the retirement allowance under the Act of 1919. It is likewise conceded that Harvey had complied with the requirements of later county retirement acts providing for increased rates and increased amounts of employe contributions to the retirement fund.
Following his dismissal, Harvey filed an application for a retirement allowance with the defendant Retirement Board. His application was refused on the ground that he had been dismissed from his position ...