Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County in the case of Borough of New Cumberland v. Police Employees of the Borough of New Cumberland, No. 3529A, Civil, 1979.
Thomas A. Beckley, with him James P. Cullen, Beckley & Madden, for appellant.
P. Richard Wagner, with him Gary M. Lightman, Mancke & Lightman, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Mencer, Rogers, Blatt, Craig, MacPhail and Palladino. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Blatt. Judge Rogers and Judge Craig join in this dissent.
[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 442]
This is an appeal by the Borough of New Cumberland (Borough) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County dismissing the Borough's petition to set aside an arbitration award rendered under the provisions of Section 4 of the Act of June 24, 1968, P.L. 237 (Act 111), as amended, 43 P.S. § 217.4.
The Borough had been a party to a collective bargaining agreement with its policemen from January 1, 1977, through December 31, 1978, but unsuccessful negotiations for an agreement for the year 1979 resulted in a decision to submit the disputed issues to an arbitration panel in accordance with Section 4 of Act 111. The Borough and the police each appointed one member to the tripartite panel and then they mutually agreed upon the third person to act as chairman.
[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 443]
A hearing was held on May 17, 1979, and an award was rendered on July 11, 1979 with the Borough-appointed arbitrator registering a dissent. The Borough filed a petition to set aside the arbitration award, but, after the common pleas court held evidentiary hearings on August 27 and September 14, 1979, this petition was dismissed and the arbitration award was sustained except for a reduction of interest payable on the award to 6% per annum.
Article III, Section 31 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, Const. Art. III, § 31, generally prohibits the General Assembly from delegating to any special commission or association the power to interfere with the monetary or taxing authority of a municipality, but by way of a November 7, 1967 amendment, the General Assembly was permitted to
enact laws which provide that the findings of panels or commissions, selected and acting in accordance with law for the adjustment or settlement of grievances or disputes or for collective bargaining between policemen and firemen and their public employers shall be binding upon all parties and shall constitute a mandate to the head of the political subdivision which is the employer . . . and to the lawmaking body of such political subdivision . . . to take the action necessary to carry out such findings.
Pursuant to that authorization, the General Assembly enacted Act 111 in 1968 to provide for arbitration panels in the event of an impasse during collective bargaining between policemen or firemen and their public employers. The appointment and composition ...