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GREENBERG ET AL. v. BRADFORD CITY (11/27/68)

decided: November 27, 1968.

GREENBERG ET AL., APPELLANTS,
v.
BRADFORD CITY



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of McKean County, June T., 1968, No. 212, in case of Theodore Greenberg et al. v. City of Bradford et al.

COUNSEL

Murray R. Garber, for appellants.

Richard E. Brandow, City Solicitor for City of Bradford, for appellees.

Edward J. Hickey, Jr., for amicus curiae.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen. Mr. Justice Musmanno did not participate in the decision of this case. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Chief Justice Bell joins in this Dissenting Opinion.

Author: Eagen

[ 432 Pa. Page 612]

In this action of mandamus, the court below sustained preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer to the complaint and entered judgment for the defendants. The plaintiffs appealed.

Bradford, Pennsylvania, a city of the Third Class, duly adopted a charter, pursuant to the authority given by Article XV, ยง 1 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania, as implemented by the Optional Third Class City Charter Law, Act of July 15, 1957, P. L. 901, 53 P.S. 41101. Subsequently, it enacted a comprehensive program for compensation for its employees, including policemen and firemen. This program does not meet the standards of compensation established for policemen and firemen in Third Class Cities of Pennsylvania by the Act of June 28, 1951, P. L. 662, as amended, Act of December 1, 1965, P. L. 1006, 53 P.S. 37001, and the Act of June 23, 1931, P. L. 932, as amended, Act of November 9, 1965, P. L. 670, 53 P.S. 37102. The plaintiffs,

[ 432 Pa. Page 613]

    a policeman and a fireman in Bradford, instituted this class action seeking to compel the city to pay its policemen and its firemen the salaries established by the state-wide acts. The central issue for decision is whether or not a Third Class City, such as Bradford, operating under a charter form of government authorized by the Act of 1957, supra, is required to adhere to the provisions of the Acts of 1931 and 1951, as amended, supra. The lower court decided that it was not, and we agree.

The Optional Third Class City Charter Law, Act of 1957, supra, grants to a city adopting a charter thereunder, broad powers of self-government and local autonomy subject only to certain limitations prescribed by the act. This includes the power to establish "positions and employments . . . their term, tenure and compensation."*fn1

The nub of the case is whether or not a limitation set forth in Section 305 of the act proscribes such a city from enacting schedules of compensation for its policemen and its firemen, which schedules do not meet the standards ...


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