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CARROLL TOWNSHIP SCHOOL BOARD VACANCY CASE. (04/17/62)

April 17, 1962

CARROLL TOWNSHIP SCHOOL BOARD VACANCY CASE.


Appeal, No. 159, March T., 1962, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Nov. T., 1961, No. 338, in re vacancy in board of school directors of Carroll Township. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Paul A. Simmons, with him Tempest & Simmons, for appellants.

Paul N. Barna, for appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen and O'brien, JJ.

Author: Musmanno

[ 407 Pa. Page 157]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

On December 28, 1961, twelve taxpayers in Carroll Township, Washington County, filed a petition in the court of common pleas of that county, alleging that a vacancy existed on the Board of School Directors of the Carroll Township School District because one of the directors, John L. Blangger, had removed from Carroll Township to the State of New Jersey and had failed to attend seven consecutive regular meetings of the board. The petition requested the court to fill the supposed vacancy. Judge CUMMINS granted the petition forthwith and appointed Henry Zermani in Blangger's place. The order of court provided that it was to become absolute if exceptions were not filed within five days after service on Blangger of the order and copy of the petition.

On January 2, 1962, Blangger, through his attorney, filed exceptions denying that he had changed residence, that he had failed to attend seven consecutive meetings, and that a vacancy existed on the board. Judge CUMMINS then, with the concurrence of Judge ROY I. CARSON, vacated the order or December 28, 1961. The taxpayers filed exceptions to this new order of January 2, 1962 and in consequence a hearing was scheduled for January 12, 1962 before a court en banc.

On that day Blangger, through his attorney, presented a motion to quash the taxpayers' petition, their exceptions and appeal, averring that, as the school board had not declared a vacancy on the board, the only manner in which Blangger's right to continue to hold office could be tested was by an action of quo warrantor.

The lower court accepted this position, dismissed the taxpayers' petition and the taxpayers appealed.

The action of the court below must be affirmed. Quo warrantor is the Gibralter of stability in government tenure. Once a person is duly elected or duly appointed

[ 407 Pa. Page 158]

    to public office, the continuity of his services may not be interrupted and the uniform working of the governmental machinery disorganized or disturbed by any proceeding less than a formal challenge to the office by that action which is now venerable with age, reinforced by countless precedent, and proved to ...


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