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decided: April 12, 1983.


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Keith Guthrie, Robert Garvin, Henry Riebold, Terrence Lockard, Robert K. Thomas, John Shook, Barry Almy and Gregory Ferrell v. The Borough of Wilkinsburg, No. SA 71 of 1980.


Ronald P. Koerner, Gatz, Cohen, Segal and Koerner, for appellants.

Paul V. Ressler, Colbert and McElfish, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 394]

The Allegheny County Common Pleas Court granted the Borough of Wilkinsburg's (Borough) motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. Guthrie and others*fn1 (Guthrie) appeal. We affirm.

The Borough Council of Wilkinsburg, in conjunction with the Mayor and the Community Advocate Unit,*fn2 conducted a private inquiry*fn3 to determine the validity of certain private citizen complaints against police officers. At the conclusion of the inquiry, the Borough issued letters of reprimand to the officers which were made a part of each officer's personal file. Each letter found the officer guilty of the misconduct alleged and also warned him of the gravity of his conduct.

[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 395]

Guthrie then petitioned for review of his case, contending it was not a proper adjudication under the Local Agency Law.*fn4 The common pleas court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

The sole legal issue here is whether a letter of reprimand is an adjudication under Section 101 of the Local Agency Law.*fn5 If it were, the police officers would be entitled to the procedural protection of the Act. The Local Agency Law defines adjudication as follows:

Any final order, decree, decision, determination or ruling by an agency affecting personal or property rights, privileges, immunities, duties, liabilities or obligations of any or all of the parties to the proceeding in which the adjudication is made.

The situations in which those various rights would be affected are enumerated in the Borough Code,*fn6 at Sections 46190*fn7 and 46191.*fn8 Section 46190 provides: "No person employed in any police or fire force or any borough shall be suspended, removed or reduced in rank except for the following reasons. . . ." There follows an enumerated list of those reasons for which persons may be suspended, removed or reduced in rank. Section 46191 provides that any officer suspended, removed or reduced in rank, because of one of the enumerated offenses, shall have the right to a written specification of charges, a hearing before the Civil Service Commission, and the right of appeal to a common pleas court. These, then, are the legally enforceable expectations of a borough police officer. He shall not

[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 396]

    be suspended, discharged or demoted without the procedural due process rights within the Borough Code.

In this case, Guthrie was neither suspended, removed nor reduced in rank; therefore, a letter of reprimand is not an adjudication for the purposes of the protections provided in the Local Agency Law.



The Allegheny Common Pleas Court order, No. SA 71 of 1980 dated April 26, 1980, is hereby affirmed.



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