Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of In Re: Appeal of Gerald M. Wallace from the decision of the Robinson Township Civil Service Commission, No. SA 203 of 1983.
Michael T. Stubna, for appellant.
Samuel P. Kamin, Goldberg & Kamin, for appellee.
Judge MacPhail, and, Senior Judges Blatt and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 540]
Gerald M. Wallace (appellant) appeals here from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which upheld the decision of the Civil Service Commission (Commission) of Robinson Township (Township) discharging him from his position as a Township police officer. He was found guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer.
[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 541]
The appellant, employed since September 1977, was suspended in December 1982 for continually failing to obey his superior's command that he comply with the Township residency requirement. The suspension was subsequently converted to a discharge when he again refused to move into the Township, and he appealed to the Commission which upheld the discharge. An appeal to the court of common pleas resulted and that court took additional evidence to determine whether or not the Township had a legally binding residency requirement.
The trial court found that, while the Township had not enacted an ordinance mandating that police officers also be residents, the Township police officers were subject to an arbitration award, rendered under the Act of June 24, 1968 (Act 111), P.L. 237, as amended, 43 P.S. §§ 217.1-217.10, which contained a residency requirement.*fn1 It concluded that the award was binding on the appellant and that his refusal to obey his superior's command to move into the Township amounted to conduct unbecoming an officer. The court held, therefore, that the discharge was proper pursuant to Section 644 of The First Class Township Code (Code), Act of June 24, 1931, P.L. 1206, as amended, added by Section 20 of the Act of May 27,
[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 5421949]
, P.L. 1955, 53 P.S. § 55644.*fn2 The present appeal followed.
Our scope of review, when the trial court takes additional evidence in an appeal from a Civil Service Commission order, is limited to determining whether or not the court abused its discretion or committed an error of law. Bell v. Borough Council, Borough of Conshohocken, 33 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 424, 381 A.2d 1345 (1978).
The appellant argues that, under Section 639 of the Code,*fn3 a residency requirement for First Class Township police officers can be implemented only by enacting an ordinance. He contends that although this Court held in Cheltenham Township v. Cheltenham Police Department, 8 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 360, 301 A.2d 430 (1973) that a residency requirement as a "condition of employment" is arbitrable under Act 111, the arbitration award is not self-implementing. He maintains that under Section ...