Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, in case of In Re: Arbitration between Ridley Park Police and Borough of Ridley Park -- Petition of Delaware County Lodge No. 27, Fraternal Order of Police, No. 86-2701.
Arthur Levy, with him, Ronald J. Klimas and Stephen J. Polaha ; Of Counsel: Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach & Monte, for appellant.
Alexander A. DiSanti, Richard, DiSanti, Hamilton, Gallagher & Paul, for appellee.
Judges Craig and Doyle, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri.
[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 475]
The Borough of Ridley Park (Borough) appeals from an order of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas striking from an arbitration award a portion of a paragraph dealing with police disability pensions.
Delaware County Lodge No. 27, Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), is the certified bargaining representative for police officers employed by the Borough. In 1985, the FOP and the Borough entered into negotiations, pursuant to Act 111,*fn1 for a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the existing agreement which was to expire at the end of the year. During the course of
[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 476]
the negotiations, the parties reached an impasse over the definition of disability for purposes of pension entitlement.
At least since 1976, the collective bargaining agreement between the Borough and its police force provided that a police officer was entitled to a disability pension if the officer was "permanently and totally disabled from performing police work for the Borough." The FOP maintained that the new agreement should retain the language which had appeared in the previous agreements, while the Borough insisted that disability be defined as "the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment." The dispute was submitted to arbitration pursuant to Act 111. In Paragraph 5(a) of its award, the arbitration panel provided that effective January 1, 1986, disability was to be given the definition proposed by the Borough.*fn2
The FOP appealed and the lower court modified the arbitration award by striking Paragraph 5(a).
The Borough's police pension fund is established pursuant to Section 1 of the Act of May 29, 1956, P.L. (1955) 1804, as amended, (Act) 53 P.S. § 767. On appeal, the Borough contends that Paragraph 5(a) of the award was proper and that there is no language in Section 1 of the Act which prohibits such a definition of disability. The Borough argues ...