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TURTLE CREEK BOROUGH AUDIT. MATEY APPEAL. (09/27/60)

September 27, 1960

TURTLE CREEK BOROUGH AUDIT. MATEY APPEAL.


Appeal, No. 104, March T., 1960, from order of Court of Quarter Sessions of Allegheny County, Feb. T., 1959, No. 90, Miscellaneous, in re annual audit of Borough of Turtle Creek. Order vacated. Same case in Superior Court: 191 Pa. Super.Ct. 391. Proceeding on petition of auditors raising question of jurisdiction of court of quarter sessions over petition to quash supplemental report of auditors. Order entered dismissing petition of auditors and directing auditors to answer, opinion by WEISS, J. Auditors appealed to the Supreme Court, which remitted the appeal to the Superior Court. Superior Court certified the case to the Supreme Court, opinion per curiam; WRIGHT, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part.

COUNSEL

John A. Metz, Jr., with him Metz, Cook, Hanna & Kelly, for appellant.

Bresci R. P. Leonard, with him Royston, Robb & Leonard, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 401 Pa. Page 202]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE JONES

[ 401 Pa. Page 203]

This matter is here on certification by the Superior Court in an exercise of the procedure prescribed by Section 10 of the Act of June 24, 1895, P.L. 212, 17 PS § 197.

The substantive legal question involved is whether a court of quarter sessions has jurisdiction to entertain a motion to quash a report of borough auditors, one copy of which, pursuant to statute, is filed in the office of the clerk of the court of quarter sessions of the county, one copy retained by the borough secretary, and a third copy filed in the Department of Internal Affairs. It is evident from the opinion for the Superio Court (sub nom. Matey Appeal, 191 Pa. Superior Ct. 391, 156 A.2d 870) that this question presented no appreciable difficulty and that the certification was availed of to question whether, in the light of this court's decision in Bell Appeal, 396 Pa. 592, 152 A.2d 731, the appeal was within the jurisdiction of the Superior Court apart from our remission of it. We shall first consider and decide the legal question posed by the appeal, as the certification contemplates.

Section 1035 of The Borough Code of May 4, 1927, P.L. 519, as amended, 53 PS § 46035(e), provides that "After such [borough auditors'] report has been prepared and executed by the auditors, it shall be the duty of the secretary of the borough to retain a copy and to file a copy of the report with the clerk of the court of quarter sessions of the county and the Department of Internal Affairs." The Borough Code further provides that appeals from borough auditors' reports shall be taken to the court of common pleas. Act of May 4, 1927, P.L. 519, § 1038, 53 PS § 46038.

In this instance, the councilmen of the borough of Turtle Creek, whom the auditors' report surcharged on several alleged grounds, petitioned the court of quarter sessions of the county to quash the report (a

[ 401 Pa. Page 204]

    copy whereof was then on file in the office of the clerk of the court) for reasons which their brief in this court summarizes as follows: "(1.) surcharges are stated en masse and in generalities; they are not documented, particularized, individualized and self-sustained; (2.) the report is not limited to fiscal matters only (R. 17a-18a); (3.) the report in stating surcharges covers fiscal matters not included in those 'which causes a financial loss to the borough' (section 1035 of The Borough Code, 1927, P.L. 519, 53 PS § 46035); and (4.) the document is a reckless, inaccurate, deceiving political indictment in the guise of an auditor's report."

At the time of filing their petition to quash in the court of quarter sessions, the petitioners appealed the auditors' report to the court of common pleas of the county, as authorized by Section 1038 of The Borough Code. The ...


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