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ALLAN J. WILLARD v. BOARD COMMISSIONERS LOWER MORELAND TOWNSHIP (11/01/77)

decided: November 1, 1977.

ALLAN J. WILLARD, APPELLANT
v.
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF LOWER MORELAND TOWNSHIP, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in case of Allan J. Willard v. Board of Commissioners of Lower Moreland Township and Civil Service Commission of Lower Moreland Township, No. 75-12717.

COUNSEL

J. Peirce Anderson, with him Kane, Pugh, Anderson, Subers & McBrien, for appellant.

Randolph A. Warden, for appellee.

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

Author: Wilkinson

[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 282]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County dismissing a mandamus action against the Board of Commissioners

[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 283]

(Board) of Lower Moreland Township (Township) filed by the plaintiff below, appellant, a township police officer. We affirm.

Appellant has been employed as a Township police officer since April 19, 1969. In June 1974, appellant along with other police officers completed a series of examinations conducted by the Civil Service Commission of the Township to qualify for the position of sergeant. He achieved the highest scores on those tests and on August 12, 1974 the Board by resolution promoted appellant to the rank of sergeant for "a probationary period of one year. . . ." On July 25, 1975, more than two weeks prior to the expiration of the probationary period, the Board by letter notified appellant that it would not endorse his promotion to the rank of sergeant as a permanent position. On August 12, 1975 appellant filed a mandamus action seeking back pay and reinstatement to the rank of sergeant.

The narrow issue for decision in this case is whether Section 640 of The First Class Township Code (Code), Act of June 24, 1931, P.L. 1206, as amended, 53 P.S. ยง 55640, regarding probations gives the Township the authority, indeed requires the Township, to make promotions subject to a probationary period. Section 640 of the Code provides:

All original appointments to any position in the police force . . . shall be for a probationary period of not less than six months and not more than one year. . . . If at the close of a probationary period the conduct or fitness of the probationer has not been satisfactory to the township commissioners, the probationer shall be notified in writing that he will not receive a permanent appointment.

Appellant would urge this Court to adopt the view that the probation period ...


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