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RICHARD P. SCHAEFER v. FRANK C. HILTON (06/03/77)

decided: June 3, 1977.

RICHARD P. SCHAEFER, APPELLANT,
v.
FRANK C. HILTON, SECRETARY OF PROPERTY AND SUPPLIES



COUNSEL

Thomas D. Caldwell, Jr., Caldwell, Clouser & Kearns, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Theodore A. Adler, Deputy Atty. Gen., Harrisburg, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Nix, JJ. Jones, former C. J., did not participate in the decision of this case. Manderino, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Roberts, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Nix

[ 473 Pa. Page 239]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, Richard P. Schaefer, a taxpayer, filed a complaint in equity in the Commonwealth Court seeking both a temporary and permanent injunction restraining appellee, Frank C. Hilton, then Secretary of the Department of Property and Supplies of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,*fn1 (hereinafter referred to as "the Department"), from proceeding with a bid proposal for the purchase of school buses for the use of certain school districts and intermediate units in the Commonwealth. After a hearing, the request for the entry of a preliminary injunction was denied. No appeal was taken from that ruling.

Counsel for both parties stipulated that the record made at the hearing on the preliminary injunction, together with the pleadings, should constitute the entire record for the purposes of determining the merits of the complaint itself and appellant's request for a permanent injunction. Each party then filed a motion for summary judgment, the motions were argued before the Commonwealth Court en banc, and judgment was entered in favor of appellee Hilton. In an opinion for the court, authored by Judge Rogers, the power of the Secretary of the Department to enter into such a transaction was upheld and judgment was entered in favor of the Department and against the appellant. Judge Blatt filed a dissenting opinion. Appellant appeals from the denial of

[ 473 Pa. Page 240]

    his request for the entry of a permanent injunction and the judgment entered in favor of appellee.*fn2

The single issue raised in this litigation is whether the Department of Property and Supplies exceeded its statutory authority when it proceeded to invite bids for the purchase of school buses intended for the use of school districts and intermediate units and not for the use of the Commonwealth or any agency thereof. It is admitted that neither the Commonwealth nor any agency of the Commonwealth has a need for these buses but rather that the Department intended to perform the service of purchasing agent on behalf of those school districts and units which had expressed a desire to purchase their requirements through the Department. After a review of the statutory authority vested in the Department, we agree with appellant that the intended transaction exceeded the powers granted to the Department by the General Assembly and therefore reverse the decree of the Commonwealth Court.

On or about November 9, 1973, the Department solicited from certain school bus vendors their bids for the sale to the Department of school buses to satisfy the needs of school districts and intermediate units. The invitation-bid proposals were transmitted at the request of the Pennsylvania Department of Education which had determined through a survey the bus requirements of such districts and units. On November 20, 1973, appellant filed his complaint in equity seeking both a preliminary and permanent injunction against the Department further proceeding with the bid proposals.

The Act of April 29, 1929,*fn3 as originally drafted, conferred upon the Department ...


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