Appeal, No. 56, March T., 1963, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Feb. T., 1962, No. 340, in re appeal from settlement of auditors' report for 1961 for Canton Township. Order affirmed in part and reversed in part.
Robert L. Ceisler, for appellant.
Sanford S. Finder, for appellee.
Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN
In accordance with the audit provisions of The Second Class Township Code,*fn1 on February 23, 1962 the auditors of Canton Township, Washington County, filed their report and settlement in the court of quarter sessions. From that report Vlasta Draper, appellant-taxpayer, filed an appeal in the court below on March 30, 1962, alleging, inter alia, that the township supervisors had made various improper expenditures; that the auditors were informed of these improprieties but failed to surcharge the supervisors as required by law; and that the court should grant a rule to show cause why the auditors should not be surcharged. The auditors filed a demurrer which was sustained by the court below on the ground that the auditors were not subject to surcharge. Appellant then sought to amend her pleadings by filing a rule to show cause why the supervisors should not be surcharged. The lower court refused the rule on the ground that the period of limitations had run. An appeal to this Court followed.
The issues confronting us are: (1) whether the auditors may be surcharged for failure to surcharge the supervisors, and (2) whether the amendment bringing in the supervisors should have been granted.
As to the first question, we hold that the auditors are not subject to surcharge. Although The Second Class Township Code imposes a duty upon the auditors to surcharge township officers for losses caused by their misconduct,*fn2 it does not provide for the surcharge of auditors. Sanctions against auditors for neglect of duty are specifically prescribed by section 549 of the Code: "Any auditor neglecting or refusing to comply with the preceding provisions of this article shall upon conviction thereof in a summary proceeding, pay a fine of not more than one hundred dollars, and in default of the payment of such fine and costs, shall be sentenced to imprisonment of not more than ten days." Act of May 1, 1933, P.L. 103, § 549; amended by Act of July 10, 1947, P.L. 1481, § 7, 53 P.S. § 65549.
Since the auditors are not entrusted with the handling or expenditure of funds - the typical activity for the imposition of surcharges - it was the legislative intendment that the threat of criminal sanctions was sufficient to deter auditors from neglecting their duty.
With respect to the second question, we hold that the court below should have granted the amendment. Under the Act of May 1, 1933, P.L. 103, § 553, as amended, 53 P.S. § 65553,*fn3 it is only necessary to file an appeal from the auditors' report in the court ...