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COSTELLO v. NORTH BRADDOCK BOROUGH (01/03/68)

decided: January 3, 1968.

COSTELLO, APPELLANT,
v.
NORTH BRADDOCK BOROUGH



Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, July T., 1966, No. 478, in case of Bernard Costello v. Borough of North Braddock.

COUNSEL

John B. Nicklas, Jr., with him Alfred C. Maiello, and McCrady & Nicklas, for appellant.

Leo Kostman, for appellee.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen. Mr. Chief Justice Bell joins in the opinion of the Court. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Chief Justice Bell and Mr. Justice Musmanno join in this concurring opinion.

Author: Cohen

[ 428 Pa. Page 265]

The Act of March 14, 1961, P. L. 64, § 36.1 provides: "When any taxing district or taxing authorities propose to either raise or reduce the compensation or salary for the office of an elected tax collector, such action shall be by ordinance or resolution, finally passed or adopted at least two days prior to the last day fixed by law for candidates to withdraw their names from nomination previous to the day of the municipal election."

We are required to interpret this Act so that we may determine whether an ordinance reducing the compensation

[ 428 Pa. Page 266]

    or salary for the office of an elected tax collector, properly enacted four days prior to the last day fixed by law for the candidates to withdraw their names from nomination, properly sets the compensation of a tax collector elected at the municipal election.*fn1

Appellant maintains the ordinance is void as to him because it reduces the borough tax collector's compensation after he has been nominated. Appellant also maintains that if the words "municipal election" as contained in this Act are interpreted to mean "municipal election" held in November, the legislative intent would not be fulfilled and such construction would be unreasonable and absurd.

We do not feel that the Act of 1961 presents a problem in construction. When the legislature provided that the taxing authorities could not raise or reduce the compensation for the office of an elected tax collector unless adopted two days prior to the last day fixed for candidates to withdraw their names from nomination, it indicated that it considered that the primary election at which the candidate had been nominated had already passed. One cannot withdraw his name from nomination unless he has been nominated and the nomination process occurs at a primary election. The legislature in 1961 apparently felt that in the event the compensation for the office of an elected tax collector is reduced after a candidate has been nominated, he should still have at least two days in

[ 428 Pa. Page 267]

    which to assess such change in compensation and decide whether or not to ...


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