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REVIEW ARBITRATION AWARD -- BOROUGH MEDIA AND MEMBERS MEDIA POLICE DEPARTMENT (07/08/81)

decided: July 8, 1981.

IN RE REVIEW OF THE ARBITRATION AWARD -- BOROUGH OF MEDIA AND MEMBERS OF MEDIA POLICE DEPARTMENT


Appeal No. 172 January Term, 1979 from Order of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, at Nos. 1857 and 2014 C.D. 1977, Bowman, President Judge; Affirming the Order Entered by the Court of Common Pleas, Delaware County, On September 9, 1977 at No. 77-1818; Clement J. McGovern, Judge.

COUNSEL

Alexander A. DiSanti, Media, for appellant.

Barry L. Gibbons, Media, for appellee.

John M. McNally, Jr., Philadelphia, for City of Philadelphia.

Alan J. Davis, Philadelphia, Gary M. Lightman, Harrisburg, for Fraternal Order of Police (amicus).

Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. Flaherty, J., files a dissenting opinion. O'Brien, C. J., and Wilkinson, J., did not participate in the consideration or the decision of this case.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 495 Pa. Page 377]

ORDER

This appeal from a final Order of the Commonwealth Court is dismissed as moot.

[ 495 Pa. Page 378]

FLAHERTY, Justice, dissenting.

I dissent. This is an appeal from a final order of the Commonwealth Court affirming the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County which upheld an award of a board of arbitrators in a labor dispute. The case involves a question as to the validity of the time provision in a labor contract between a police department and its employer. The majority dismisses the appeal as moot, apparently on the theory that the time provision of the contract -- that the contract would be in force for a period of two years -- has expired, and thus that the case is moot because the contract period has ended. Whether the borough had the power to enter into a contract which extended beyond the terms of the members of its Council who were in office at the time the contract was negotiated, however, is a question which is likely to arise with some frequency in the future, and, thus falls within an exception to the mootness doctrine in that it "involves a question that is capable of repetition but likely to evade review if the normal rules on mootness are applied." Commonwealth v. Joint Bargaining Committee, 484 Pa. 175, 179, 398 A.2d 1001, 1003 (1979), and cases cited therein. I would reach the merits of this case because it presents an opportunity to offer guidance in an area of law where uncertainty presently exists and where similar disputes are likely to recur.

The parties to this dispute, the Borough of Media, Pennsylvania (hereinafter the Borough) and the Media Police Department (hereinafter the Police) are governed by the provisions of Act of June 24, 1968, P.L. 237, No. 111, et seq. 43 P.S. ยง 217.1 et. seq., (hereinafter Act 111), which provides for the right of firemen and policemen to bargain collectively concerning the terms and conditions of employment. Act 111 also provides that in the case of a dispute between a public employer and its policemen or firemen which reaches a stalemate and impasse, either party, "after written notice to the other ...


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