Appeal from an arbitration award in case of In the Matter of Arbitration between County of Dauphin and Pennsylvania Social Services Union, dated February 16, 1976.
[ 33 Pa. Commw. Page 462]
At County of Dauphin v. Pennsylvania Social Service Union, 33 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 456, 375 A.2d 1353 (1977), we set aside the decision of an arbitrator that the County of Dauphin was required to reimburse Union members for the use of their personal cars at a rate fixed in the collective bargaining agreement between the County and the Union although the rate fixed in the agreement was higher than the maximum rate authorized by a State statute. As reference to our opinion will show, we decided that Section 414 of the County Code, Act of August 9, 1955, P.L. 323, as amended, 16 P.S. § 414, authorizing counties to reimburse county officials and employes for car use at the rate of twelve cents (12 cents) per mile, established a legal maximum and that the collective bargaining agreement providing for reimbursement at a higher rate violated or was inconsistent with Section 414 and was therefore unenforceable, as declared by Section 703 of the Pennsylvania Employe Relations Act (PERA), Act of July 23, 1970, P.L. 563, as amended, 43 P.S. § 1101.703.*fn1
[ 33 Pa. Commw. Page 463]
The Pennsylvania Social Service Union filed a petition for reargument contending that we had failed to observe the Supreme Court's holding that:
[I]tems bargainable under section 701 are only excluded under section 703 where other applicable statutory provisions explicitly and definitively prohibit the public employer from making an agreement as to that specific term or condition of employment.
Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. State College Area School District, 461 Pa. 494, 510, 337 A.2d 262, 270 (1975).
We reproduced, and expounded at some length on, Section 414 of the County Code in our earlier Opinion and there is no reason to do either again. Although we remain of the opinion that Section 414 of the County Code establishes a maximum rate of reimbursement, we find nothing in Section 414 or any other statute which "explicitly and definitively" prohibits the County of Dauphin from making an agreement for reimbursement at a higher rate. Indeed, the phrase "unless provisions of law require the payment of a higher rate," with which Section 414 concludes, authorizes other provisions of law by which different and higher rates might be fixed. It is not unreasonable to view Section 701 of PERA authorizing collective bargaining with respect to terms and conditions of employment as such a provision of law. We must vacate our previous Order and enter a new one, as follows:
And Now, this 27th day of February, 1978, we vacate our Order of July 18, 1977 reversing, and hereby affirm the award of the arbitrator ...