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BUTLER COUNTY CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS v. BUTLER COUNTY COMMISSIONERS (03/07/86)

decided: March 7, 1986.

BUTLER COUNTY CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS, ET AL., APPELLANTS
v.
BUTLER COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County in the case of Butler County Commissioners v. Butler County Correctional Officers, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 84, and John A. Ewart, Trustee Ad Litem, MsD. No. 84-041, Book 43, Page 291.

COUNSEL

Alaine S. William, with her, Stuart W. Davidson and Samuel Issacharoff, Kirschner, Walters, Willig, Weinberg & Dempsey, for appellants.

Thomas H. M. Hough, Hough & Gleason, P.C., with him, Alexander H. Lindsay, Lindsay & Kemper, for appellees.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers, Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 472]

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 84, AFL-CIO (AFSCME) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County vacating an arbitration award rendered under section 805 of the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA).*fn1 We reverse.

AFSCME is the certified bargaining representative for the Butler County prison guards. AFSCME and the county commenced negotiations, pursuant to the reopener clause in their collective bargaining agreement, concerning changes to be effective January 1, 1984, but reached an impasse after numerous negotiating sessions.*fn2 Under section 801 of the PERA, the parties engaged in mediation which failed to resolve the dispute; therefore, in accordance with section 805, they referred the dispute to an arbitration panel. On March 19, 1984, the panel of arbitrators, by a two-to-one vote, issued an award directing the county to pay all bargaining unit employees a 6.8 percent wage increase and to expand their dental insurance coverage to include their dependents.*fn3

The county appealed from the arbitrator's award to the court of common pleas, which vacated the award. This appeal followed.

The issue before us is whether the wage increase and expanded dental coverage provisions of the arbitration award in favor of AFSCME require a "legislative enactment" for its implementation, so that, in

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 473]

    accordance with the terms of section 805, the award would have to be considered only advisory.

We resolved this issue in County of Lehigh v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 88, Local 543, AFL-CIO, 95 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 486, 505 A.2d 1104 (1986) which we consolidated for oral argument with this case.*fn4 In that case we quoted Judge Stranahan's opinion in County of Allegheny v. Allegheny Court Association of Professional Employees (No. SA 642 of 1980, filed December 17, 1984), holding that the statutory power of the county commissioners to make a budget transfer in a non-home-rule county is not a legislative enactment, but an administrative action. A legislative enactment is required only where the budget amounts are insufficient to effect the necessary transfer.

Section 1784 of the County Code, Act of August 9, 1955, P.L. 323, 16 P.S. ยง 1784, expressly authorizes the county commissioners to make transfers between budget items. That section reads: ". . . . The commissioners may authorize the transfer of any unencumbered balance of any appropriation item or any portion thereof. . . ." The County Code thus confers the power to transfer even more broadly ...


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