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TOWNSHIP MOON v. POLICE OFFICERS TOWNSHIP MOON (09/24/85)

decided: September 24, 1985.

TOWNSHIP OF MOON, APPELLANT/CROSS-APPELLEE,
v.
POLICE OFFICERS OF THE TOWNSHIP OF MOON, APPELLEE/CROSS-APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court dated June 1, 1984, entered at Nos. 103 and 175 C.D. 1983, affirming in part and vacating in part the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, dated December 20, 1982, entered at G.D. 82-6872 Pa. Commw. , Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ. Larsen, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Nix

[ 508 Pa. Page 498]

OPINION

This appeal*fn1 challenges the validity of an interest arbitration panel's Award settling collective bargaining disputes between Moon Township and the police officers of Moon Township. At issue is whether an interest arbitration panel may include a provision for binding grievance arbitration in an award. The Township challenges the authority of the interest arbitration panel under the Act of June 24, 1968, P.L. 237, as amended, 43 P.S. § 217.1 et seq. ("Act 111") to include in its award a procedure for binding grievance arbitration. Subsumed in this issue is the question as to whether Act 111 requires that a grievance arbitration procedure conform with the arbitration procedure set forth in section 4 of that Act. Finally, we are called upon to determine whether a residency requirement can be provided for under the Act 111 interest arbitration.

I.

In 1981 the Police Officers of the Township of Moon [hereinafter referred to as "appellees"] and the Township of Moon [hereinafter referred to as "appellant"] began negotiations

[ 508 Pa. Page 499]

    for a collective bargaining agreement which was to be effective January 1, 1982. An impasse was subsequently reached and the parties proceeded to arbitration pursuant to Act 111 to resolve the disputed contract issues. An interest arbitration panel issued an award on March 4, 1982, which provided for, inter alia, a contractual grievance procedure culminating in binding arbitration*fn2 and a residency requirement which replaced a previous provision that required police officers to reside within the boundaries of the Township.*fn3

The appellant sought relief in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County seeking to vacate paragraphs # 2 and

[ 508 Pa. Page 500]

# 13 of the Award. The Common Pleas Court found that the panel was empowered to establish a binding arbitration grievance procedure and a residency requirement. That court, however, determined that a remand was necessary since the grievance arbitration procedure set forth in the Award did not conform to the procedure described in Act 111. The appellants appealed that determination to the Commonwealth Court. The Commonwealth Court, 83 Pa. Commw. 14, 477 A.2d 29, affirmed the lower court's determination on all issues except to the extent that, instead of remand, the Commonwealth Court modified the grievance arbitration by requiring it to conform to the procedures set forth under Act 111. Thereafter, appellant appealed to this Court pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 724. A counter appeal was filed by appellees challenging the Commonwealth Court amendment to paragraph # 3 of the Award. Review was granted and the issue is presently ripe for disposition.

II.

Our scope of review under Act 111 has been narrowly defined. In the Washington Arbitration Case, 436 Pa. 168, 259 A.2d 437 (1969), we stated that although section 217.7(a) of Act 111 expressly prohibits appeals to courts, there was a limited right of review in the nature of narrow certiorari where there were questions of either jurisdiction, the regularity of the proceedings before the agency, excess in exercise of powers, or constitutional violations.*fn4 Here, as in the Washington Arbitration Case, supra, we are presented with a question of the excess in the exercise of powers.

A.

Appellant begins by asserting that the arbitration panel was without constitutional and ...


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