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BOARD COMMISSIONERS MONTGOMERY COUNTY v. JOHN B. LUKENS (05/29/80)

decided: May 29, 1980.

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, APPELLANT
v.
JOHN B. LUKENS, ET AL., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in case of John B. Lukens and Edward M. Cyrus, individually and as bargaining representatives of Montgomery County Detectives, and Montgomery County Detectives, in their own right v. Board of Commissioners of Montgomery County, No. 78-13295.

COUNSEL

George P. Wood, Stewart & Wood, for appellant.

J. Peirce Anderson, Kane, Pugh, Anderson, Subers & McBrien, for appellees.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Craig, MacPhail and Williams, Jr. Judge Blatt did not participate. Opinion by Judge Rogers. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.

Author: Rogers

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 577]

The Board of Commissioners of Montgomery County has appealed from a final order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County directing them to enter into collective bargaining with representatives of the Montgomery County detectives. We affirm.

On June 23, 1978, J. Peirce Anderson, Esquire, wrote to the Board of Commissioners as follows:

Please be advised that 21 of 24 of the County Detectives have determined to enter into collective bargaining pursuant to Act 111 [Act of June 24, 1968, P.L. 237, as amended, 43 P.S. § 217.1 et seq.] and have selected Lodge No. 14, Fraternal Order of Police-Team Concept and myself as bargaining agent and attorney. Accordingly, please accept this letter as a formal request to enter into bargaining sessions concerning terms and conditions of employment. . . ."

John Stewart, Esquire, replied on behalf of the Board of Commissioners by a letter dated June 30, 1978, writing in part:

It is the position of the Commissioners that Act 111 does not apply to Montgomery County and further that it is unconstitutional in scope and in intent. The Commissioners, therefore, regret to advise you that they will not enter into bargaining sessions with you or the Fraternal Order of Police.

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 578]

The appellees, Lukens and Cyrus and the county detectives in their own right, thereafter filed their complaint in mandamus against the Commissioners in which they alleged that Lukens and Cyrus had been selected by vote of the detectives to serve as a bargaining committee; that the Commissioners had refused to enter into collective bargaining with them; and that Act 111 required the Commissioners to bargain. They sought peremptory judgment ordering the Commissioners to begin collective bargaining with the appellees. The Commissioners filed an answer and new matter challenging inter alia the constitutionality of Act 111, the propriety of the election and selection of Lukens and Cyrus as bargaining representatives for the detectives and the appropriateness of mandamus and peremptory judgment therein. Over the objections of the Commissioners, a judge conducted a hearing at which both parties adduced evidence, the plaintiffs in support of and the defendants in opposition to, the former's application for peremptory judgment. The hearing judge found that the detectives perform the normal duties of policemen and that they had chosen appellees Lukens and Cyrus and one Hilborn to act as their bargaining agents. The trial judge concluded that Act 111 was applicable to the issues but that attorney Anderson's letter of June 23, 1978 was not timely notice to the Commissioners to begin collective bargaining at least six months before the start of the next fiscal year as required by Section 3 of Act 111, 43 P.S. § 217.3, because the letter had ...


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