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RALPH OTTAVIANO v. HONORABLE ALEXANDER BARBIERI AND HONORABLE LOUIS VIGNOLA (04/28/78)

decided: April 28, 1978.

RALPH OTTAVIANO
v.
THE HONORABLE ALEXANDER BARBIERI AND THE HONORABLE LOUIS VIGNOLA, PRESIDENT JUDGE TRAFFIC COURT OF PHILADELPHIA



No. 52 E.D. Miscellaneous Docket 1978

COUNSEL

Clifford J. Gabrellas, Richard G. Phillips, John W. Morris, Philadelphia, for petitioner.

Lawrence A. DiSipio, Jonathan Vipond, III, Frederick L. Voight, Philadelphia, for respondents.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Larsen, JJ. Roberts, J., files a dissenting opinion. Pomeroy, J., files a dissenting opinion. Manderino, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision in this case.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 478 Pa. Page 236]

OPINION

Petitioner, Ralph Ottaviano, as an employee of the Traffic Court of Philadelphia, filed a Petition for Writ of Prohibition

[ 478 Pa. Page 237]

    directed against the Honorable Alexander Barbieri, Administrator for the court system of Pennsylvania and the Honorable Louis Vignola, President Judge of the Traffic Court of Philadelphia. This action was prompted by the issuance of a directive by respondent Vignola, dated March 22, 1978, advising all employees of the Traffic Court that within seven (7) days of the notice they were to "cease and desist all Partisan Political Activity or face removal from active employment status at the Philadelphia Traffic Court." It was further determined that said directive was issued pursuant to a series of regulations promulgated by respondent Barbieri.

Petitioner is presently serving as a member of the Fifth Ward Democratic Executive Committee after having been duly elected in the primary election in the Spring of 1976. Petitioner's term of office will expire on May 22, 1978. Prior to the receipt of the March 22nd directive, petitioner had filed as a candidate for the same office, to be filled in the primary election of May 16, 1978 for a term of two years. It was further established that the March 22nd directive was issued after the time prescribed under the Election Code within which candidates would be allowed to withdraw nominating petitions and to have their names removed from the ballot. 25 P.S. ยงยง 2873(d), 2874 (1963 & Supp. 1977-78).

In the instant action petitioner has challenged the Administrator's right to promulgate the aforementioned regulations and further asserts that the belated communication of the Traffic Court directive to him has caused an unreasonable hardship to him and to the constituents within his Ward.*fn*

We find our decision in In Re: Prohibition of Political Activities, 473 Pa. 554, 375 A.2d 1257 (1977) to be controlling. Therefore, we grant ...


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