Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of In Re: Appeal of Ronald Darney and William MacKenzie, No. SA 144 of 1978.
Donald C. Fetzko, for appellant.
Charles E. Weston, with him Ronald P. Koerner, Gatz, Cohen, Segel & Koerner, for appellees, Ronald Darney and William MacKenzie.
Judges Mencer, Rogers and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr. Judge Wilkinson, Jr. did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 526]
This is an appeal by the Borough of West Mifflin (Borough) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which vacated the suspensions of Borough police officers Ronald Darney and
[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 527]
William MacKenzie. The court below heard the matter on an appeal to that court by Darney and MacKenzie from a decision of the Borough Civil Service Commission (Commission) sustaining suspensions voted by the Borough Council.
By written notice dated December 21, 1977, Officer Darney was advised that the Borough Council had voted to suspend him from the police force for 15 days without pay, on charges of inefficiency, neglect, intemperance, and conduct unbecoming an officer. By written notice of that same date Officer MacKenzie was advised that he was suspended for 10 days without pay, on charges of intemperance and conduct unbecoming an officer. Infractions as charged against both officers are grounds for suspension, removal or reduction in rank by authority of Section 1190(4) of The Borough Code (Code).*fn1
On December 23, 1977, both officers answered the charges by pleading their innocence and demanded a hearing before the Commission pursuant to Section 1191 of the Code.*fn2 However, allegedly on the request of the Borough's attorney, the Commission did not hold a hearing until the end of January, 1978, due to the advent of the holiday season and the Borough's need to subpoena 16 witnesses for its case against the officers. On January 10, 1978, the Commission notified the acccused that the hearing was scheduled for January 25, 1978.
On January 11, 1978, the Commission sent notice that the hearing was re-scheduled for January 27, 1978, at the request of the officers' attorney, and was fixed to begin at 7:00 P.M. on the last mentioned date.
Of the Borough's 16 subpoenaed witnesses 14 were present at the appointed time and ...