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COTLAR v. WARMINSTER TOWNSHIP (04/03/73)

decided: April 3, 1973.

COTLAR, ET AL.
v.
WARMINSTER TOWNSHIP



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in case of In Re: Audit of the Township of Warminster for the Year from the First Monday in January, 1969 to the First Monday in January, 1970, No. 1726 March Term, 1970.

COUNSEL

George M. Bush, with him Hartzel, Bush & O'Neill, for appellants.

Robert T. Burke, with him Stief & Burke, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 8 Pa. Commw. Page 164]

Warminster Township (Warminster) in Bucks County is a township of the second class with a population of approximately 35,000 persons and an area of approximately 10 miles. During the year 1969, the board of supervisors of Warminster consisted of five members. Following the filing of the auditor's report for Warminster for the fiscal year 1969, two taxpayers filed an appeal, alleging that four of the township supervisors were liable to a surcharge for certain compensation which they had received during the period of the audit. The Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County held a hearing and, by order dated July 26, 1971, surcharged each of the four supervisors the sum of $1100.00. This appeal followed.

Although the supervisors employed a part-time township manager in 1969, they devised a plan for assigning certain areas of responsibility to individual supervisors. Each supervisor was to be a liaison between the Board and the personnel of the particular activity to which he had been assigned, as well as with the public. The township auditors had authorized the supervisors to receive $3.00 per hour compensation for each hour spent in road inspections and, since the supervisors were satisfied that they would spend at least 33 hours

[ 8 Pa. Commw. Page 165]

    each month in fulfillment of their new self-assigned duties, they set their additional compensation at $100.00 per month. No approval was obtained from the auditors, but the township solicitor informed the supervisors that it was his opinion that the $100.00 per month compensation, in addition to the compensation which they were entitled to receive for attending board meetings and for inspection of township roads, was legally permissible.

At the organization meeting of the board of supervisors on January 6, 1969, the following assignments were made: Albert W. Beyer, Director of Highways; Charles M. Hoffman, Director of Planning and Zoning; Joseph Lingo, Director of Municipal Affairs; Ronald Wallace, Director of Fiscal and Administrative Affairs; and Charles E. Cotlar, Director of Public Safety.

Thereafter, each of the supervisors, with the exception of Albert W. Beyer who refused the additional compensation, was paid from township funds the sum of $100.00 a month for eleven months during the year 1969.

The Second Class Township Code (Code), Act of May 1, 1933, P.L. 103, 53 P.S. §§ 65101, et seq., by Section 515, 53 P.S. § 65515, as amended by the Act of May 3, 1965, P.L. 34, § 1, provided that "[s]upervisors shall receive from the general township fund, as compensation, ten dollars for each meeting which they attend. The compensation of supervisors, when acting as superintendents, roadmasters or laborers, shall be fixed by the township auditors either per hour, per day, per week, ...


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