Appeal, No. 134, March T., 1958, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, August T., 1957, No. 161, in case of Henry Vega v. Borough of Burgettstown. Judgment affirmed; reargument refused February 2, 1959.
Richard DiSalle, with him Adolph L. Zeman, Robert L. Zeman, and Zeman & Zeman, for appellant.
Edward V. Sciamanna, for appellee.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones and Cohen, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES.
This is an appeal from the action of the court below granting to appellee, the Borough of Burgettstown, the right to setoff against appellant's salary an amount earned by him in a private capacity during the period of his improper dismissal from his position as appellee's chief of police.
The present controversy arises from appellant's dismissal as chief of police by the Borough Council on February 6, 1954. On appeal, the court below imposed a suspension for a period of sixty days without pay from the date of the purported dismissal, but reinstated appellant as chief of police with a direction to pay him the salary due him from the expiration of the period of suspension on April 16, 1954 to the date of his reinstatement. The Borough appealed to this Court, which, in an opinion filed on November 14, 1955,*fn1 affirmed the order of the court below. Appellant was reinstated on November 28, 1955. In the present action, appellant sought to recover his salary accumulated during the period of suspension. The appellee contended that the amount of salary should be reduced by whatever sums appellant earned from other sources during this period. Appellee's contention was upheld by the court below, and this appeal followed.
Appellant initially argues that the statute outlining the procedure for the removal of borough policemen is determinative of the present question.*fn2 Section
of that statute provides: "... The appointing authority may suspend any such person without pay pending the determination of the charges against him, but in the event the appointing authority fails to uphold the charges, then the person sought to be suspended or removed shall be reinstated with full pay for the period during which he was suspended." (Emphasis supplied.)
Appellant urges that the use of the words "with full pay" by the legislature demonstrates that it was not its intention to have earnings from other sources deducted from the salary of reinstated policemen. This argument, by no means novel, has been successfully refuted by the Superior Court in Seltzer v. Reading, 151 Pa. Superior Ct. 226, 30 A.2d 177. In the Seltzer case, in rejecting a similar contention on the part of an improperly discharged fire alarm operator, the Court stated: "Plaintiff seeks to avoid the application of this settled rule by the language of § 10 of the above 1933 Act, 53 PS 8480(h) which provides that such employees 'shall be reinstated with full pay for the entire period during which he may have been prevented from performing his usual employment...' 'The general design and purpose of the law is to be kept in view' and the statute should be construed with reference to the object it seeks to attain. [Citing authorities] The Act of 1933 was intended to provide security to an employee who had achieved civil service status, in the tenure of his service and to prevent loss in income when unlawfully discharged. That is all that is implied in the provision for reinstatement 'with full pay.'" (p. 228).
Undoubtedly, the legislature intended to do no more than prevent a monetary loss by the dismissed employee and to protect him from possible economic retribution by the discharging authority upon reinstatement.
The problem of the treatment of earnings from outside sources is not governed by the quoted phrase.*fn3 The improperly dismissed employee is protected from ...