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CITY YORK v. DONALD L. REIHART (11/09/76)

decided: November 9, 1976.

CITY OF YORK
v.
DONALD L. REIHART, DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF YORK COUNTY, AND WHITE ROSE LODGE NO. 15, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE. (2 CASES)



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of York County in case of City of York v. Donald L. Reihart, District Attorney of York County, and White Rose Lodge No. 15, Fraternal Order of Police, No. 307 May Term, 1974.

COUNSEL

Harold N. Fitzkee, Jr., for appellant, White Rose Lodge No. 15 and Fraternal Order of Police.

John W. Thompson, Jr., City Solicitor, for appellant, City of York.

Donald L. Reihart, appellee, for himself.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Judge Kramer did not participate. Opinion by President Judge Bowman.

Author: Bowman

[ 27 Pa. Commw. Page 38]

By declaratory judgment proceedings, the City of York sought judicial resolution of the legality of a contract provision between it and its police officers which was the product of binding arbitration pursuant to the Act of June 24, 1968, P.L. 237, as amended, 43 P.S. § 217.1 et seq., commonly referred to as Act 111. This Act provides for collective bargaining and ultimate binding arbitration between public employers and the bargaining representatives of their policemen and firemen "concerning the terms and conditions of their employment, including compensation, hours, working conditions, retirement, pensions and other benefits. . . ."*fn1

The controversial section of the contract provides:

"Each Policeman will receive $15.00 for each day or portion thereof spent in appearances at court or hearing during off-duty time."

Apparently cowed by a declaration of the District Attorney of York County that he considered such payments to be illegal, against public policy, and possibly subject to criminal prosecution, and the publicity resulting therefrom, the City initiated the instant proceedings against the District Attorney. The record discloses that the local lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police was brought in as a party defendant, but we are left to speculate how it is here postured as a party plaintiff-appellant.

By characterizing the payments to be received by the police officers under this contract as "fees," the court below*fn2 found the contract provision to be invalid as repugnant to public policy. The court below relied in part upon a review of the statutory law pertaining

[ 27 Pa. Commw. Page 39]

    generally to compensation of police officers and particularly to police officers ...


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