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RICHARD C. SNELBAKER AND CHARLES N. SWEET v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/27/82)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: December 27, 1982.

RICHARD C. SNELBAKER AND CHARLES N. SWEET, PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE ETHICS COMMISSION, RESPONDENT

Original jurisdiction in case of Richard C. Snelbaker and Charles N. Sweet v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, State Ethics Commission.

COUNSEL

William Fearen, with him Michael I. Levin, Cleckner and Fearen, for petitioners.

Sandra S. Christianson, General Counsel, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers, Blatt, Craig and Doyle.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 529]

Before us is a motion for summary judgment by Richard Snelbaker and Charles Sweet (petitioners).

Petitioners are attorneys engaged in private practice who have been retained by Commonwealth school

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 530]

    districts as solicitors.*fn1 They filed a Petition for Review addressed to our original jurisdiction seeking declaratory and injunctive relief from the State Ethics Commission's holding*fn2 that school board solicitors are "public employees" for purposes of the State Ethics Act,*fn3 and, as such, are required to file annual statements disclosing their financial interests.*fn4

Petitioners, in support of their summary judgment motion, cite the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision in Ballou v. State Ethics Commission, 496 Pa. 127, 436 A.2d 186 (1981), as controlling. We agree.

In Ballou, the Supreme Court held that municipal solicitors are not public employees nor public officials within the scope of the Ethics Act. Instead, municipal solicitors, in their legal advisory capacity, are "state consultants" as defined by the Act*fn5 who are not required to file financial disclosure statements.*fn6

The State Ethics Commission asserts error in the Supreme Court's decision in Ballou and requests that we either modify or reverse its decision. It is axiomatic that we can do neither.

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 531]

Accordingly, we conclude that school board solicitors are not public employees or public officials within the scope of the Ethics Act and therefore are not required to file annual statements disclosing their financial interests as required by Section 4 of the Ethics Act. Petitioners' motion for summary judgment is hereby granted.

Per Curiam Order

Now, December 27, 1982, as school board solicitors are not public employees or public officials within the scope of the Ethics Act and therefore are not required to file annual statements disclosing their financial interests as required by Section 4 of the Ethics Act, Petitioners' motion for summary judgment is hereby granted.

Disposition

Motion for summary judgment granted.


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