Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County in case of Brenda S. Hogue, Sarah Fitzgerald, Cynthia Shilling and Catherine Snider v. William M. Reznor, Harold E. Bell, Josephine D. McCutcheon and County of Mercer, No. 606 C.D. 1980.
Timothy R. Bonner, County Solicitor, for appellants.
Timothy L. McNickle, McBride and McNickle, P.C., for appellees.
Judges Mencer, Williams, Jr. and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr. This decision was reached prior to the expiration of the term of office of Judge Palladino. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 601]
This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County granting Judgment on the Pleadings in favor of appellees, who are professional court reporters employed in the County's judicial system.
On January 23, 1980 the Mercer County Salary Board met to determine appellees' compensation for the year 1980. At that time, the Board passed a resolution which increased the court reporters' hourly rate of pay. Additionally, the standard work week for the court reporters was increased from thirty-five hours per week to forty hours per week.
For some time prior to January 23, 1980, the court reporters had filed with the County Controller weekly time sheets indicating a "P" for each day they were present and working, and were paid accordingly. They continued this practice after the January 23, 1980 resolution was passed, and were paid as mandated by that resolution until April 16, 1980.
On February 5, 1980 the County Controller and the County Commissioners wrote a letter to the Mercer County Judges, as the court reporters' Department
[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 602]
Heads, requesting that appellees file future time sheets indicating the actual number of hours worked per day. In response to this request, the Judges informed the Commissioners that appellees would be directed to continue to complete their time sheets in the same manner as they had in the past.
When appellees failed to submit documentation of a forty hour work week, the Salary Board scheduled a meeting on April 16, 1980 to reconsider appellees' salaries. At that meeting, the Board adopted a resolution to pay the court reporters on the basis of a thirty-five hour work week, effective April 16, 1980. Subsequent to that date, appellees were so paid.
As a result of the County's refusal to pay appellees in accordance with the January, 1980 resolution, appellees instituted an action in assumpsit whereby they sought to recover the difference between the amount they were actually paid from April 16, 1980 up to the time of the initiation of the suit and the amount due them pursuant to the January, 1980 resolution. In addition, appellees requested a declaratory judgment interpreting the effect of the actions of the Salary Board and their contract with the County. Subsequently, the court reporters and Mercer County filed cross-Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings. By order dated January 14, 1981 the Mercer ...