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WILLIAM E. BARR v. PINE TOWNSHIP BOARD SUPERVISORS (07/14/75)

decided: July 14, 1975.

WILLIAM E. BARR, APPELLANT,
v.
THE PINE TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, APPELLEE



Appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of In Re: Appeal of William E. Barr, from the Decision of the Township Supervisors of the Township of Pine, No. SA 299 of 1973.

COUNSEL

James S. Carey, Jr., with him Ronald P. Koerner and Gatz, Cohen, Segal & Koerner, for appellant.

Henry W. Ewalt, with him William H. Markus, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 20 Pa. Commw. Page 256]

Presently before us is the appeal of William E. Barr (Appellant) whose sixty day suspension as a police officer by the Pine Township Board of Supervisors (Board) was sustained by the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

On December 8, 1972, Appellant, the only member of the five man police force on duty, received a telephone call reporting that the Pine Township Junior High School was the object of a bomb threat. Appellant unsuccessfully attempted to contact the police chief, and in accordance

[ 20 Pa. Commw. Page 257]

    with established procedure, he contacted Sergeant Herr, the next senior officer who, at the time, was off duty. At this juncture of the factual posture, a dispute arises. The Sergeant testified that he told Appellant to go to the school and evacuate the children. Appellant, however, maintains that no such specific command was given, but rather claims that he was told to instruct school personnel to evacuate the children, whereupon he telephoned the school officials to commence evacuation. He then resumed his duties. Later when the chief of police learned of the incident, he ordered Appellant to the school.

Appellant frames three issues for our resolution.

1) Did Appellant get a fair hearing before the Board consisting of two of the three Supervisors when one of them had suspended Appellant and had been personally involved in the case prior to the filing of the charges?

2) Did the Board abuse its discretion when it suspended Appellant on the basis of contradictory testimony to the extent that ...


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