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PENNSYLVANIA ASSOCIATION STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL PHYSICIANS v. STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT BOARD (03/14/79)

decided: March 14, 1979.

PENNSYLVANIA ASSOCIATION OF STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL PHYSICIANS, INC., AND RUTH C. SABATINO, AN INDIVIDUAL, ON BEHALF OF HERSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, AND MARY L. HANSEN, M. D., AN INDIVIDUAL, ON BEHALF OF HERSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, AND A. VICTOR HANSEN, M. D., AN INDIVIDUAL, ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, AND F. LEWIS BARTLETT, M. D., AN INDIVIDUAL, ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED
v.
STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT BOARD, AND SOL. E. ZUBROW, IN HIS CAPACITY AS CHAIRMAN OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT BOARD, AND HONORABLE C. DELORES TUCKER, IN HER DUAL CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF THE COMMONWEALTH AND AS VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT BOARD, AND FRANK M. HAPP, IN HIS CAPACITY AS MEMBER OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT BOARD, AND WILLIAM J. MORAN, IN HIS CAPACITY AS MEMBER OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT BOARD, AND HONORABLE PAUL J. SMITH, IN HIS CAPACITY AS MEMBER OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT BOARD, AND HONORABLE VINCENT YAKOWICZ, IN HIS CAPACITY AS MEMBER OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT BOARD, AND RICHARD L. WITMER, IN HIS CAPACITY AS EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE STATE EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT BOARD, AND GRACE M. SLOAN, IN HER CAPACITY AS TREASURER OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, AND HONORABLE MILTON J. SHAPP, IN HIS CAPACITY AS GOVERNOR OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANTS



No. 604 January Term, 1977, Appeal from Order of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania entered July 19, 1977 at No. 1741, C.D. 1975.

COUNSEL

Gerald Gornish, Acting Atty. Gen., Joseph Kenneth Hegedus, Deputy Atty. Gen., Norman J. Watkins, Deputy Atty. Gen., Chief, Civil Litigation, Harrisburg, for appellants.

Richard B. Sigmond, Philadelphia, for appellees.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Pomeroy, former J., did not participate in the decision of this case. Nix, J., filed a concurring and dissenting opinion. Larsen, J., dissents and believes the suit should be dismissed, as there are no issues which are presently existing which can be decided by the Court.

Author: Roberts

[ 484 Pa. Page 315]

OPINION OF THE COURT

"Credited service" is one of two variables in the basic formula for calculating retirement benefits under the State Employes' Retirement Code of 1959.*fn1 Under the Code of 1959, as amended, "credited service" also determines employees' eligibility for benefits.*fn2

Section 204(1) of the Code of 1959, which sets forth the method for computing "credited service," provides:

"In computing the length of service of a contributor for retirement purposes, a year of service shall mean a period of twelve (12) months during which a contributor is a State employe and for which he receives an annual salary or other compensation. The time during which a State employe is on furlough or on leave of absence without pay shall not be counted in computing the credited service or the final average salary of the contributor . . . ."

[ 484 Pa. Page 316]

Until 1969, appellant State Employes' Retirement Board computed salaried part-time employees' "credited service" at a rate of one full year for every twelve months a salaried part-time employee received a salary. Beginning in 1969, the Board gave such employees less than a full year of credit for each twelve months a salary was received. The portion of credit granted reflected the percentage of a full-time schedule a salaried part-time employee worked.*fn3

Appellees instituted a class action in the Commonwealth Court on behalf of all part-time employees of the Commonwealth who are paid an annual salary.*fn4 Appellees sought a writ of mandamus directing the Board and other appellants to compute salaried part-time employees' "credited service" as it was computed until 1969. On appellees' motion for partial judgment on the pleadings, a unanimous Commonwealth Court ...


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