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BETTY C. WILLIAMS v. CITY PITTSBURGH (09/04/87)

decided: September 4, 1987.

BETTY C. WILLIAMS, APPELLANT
v.
THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH, ET AL., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of Betty C. Williams v. The City of Pittsburgh, Richard Caliguiri, Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh; Robert Coll, Jr., Superintendent of Police of the City of Pittsburgh; Robert Henzler, Inspector of the Number 5 Police Station, City of Pittsburgh; Harry Mulholland, Captain at the Number 5 Police Station, City of Pittsburgh; James Campbell, Detective in the Internal Affairs Section, Department of Police, City of Pittsburgh; John McGrady, Controller of the City of Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh City Council, Civil Service Commission, City of Pittsburgh, City of Pittsburgh Personnel Appeals Board, No. SA 1171-1978.

COUNSEL

Eugene A. Lincoln, for appellant.

Deborah Miskovich, with her, Judith W. Spain, Assistant City Solicitor, D. R. Pellegrini, City Solicitor, for appellees.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges MacPhail, Doyle, Barry, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Palladino. Judge Craig did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Palladino

[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 170]

Betty C. Williams (Appellant) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which affirmed her discharge as a police officer by the City of Pittsburgh. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 171]

Appellant was employed by the City as a school teacher for the 1977-78 school year. During the same period of time, Appellant was also working for the City as a police officer. Upon learning of Appellant's dual employment, the Superintendent of Police for the City notified Appellant in a letter dated June 26, 1978 that her dual employment violated Section 707 of the City of Pittsburgh Home Rule Charter (Charter) which states:

707. MULTIPLE EMPLOYMENT PROHIBITED

No person shall hold more than one compensated position in city government, and no compensated city employee shall hold a compensated position in any other government except as follows:

     a. officer or member of the Pennsylvania National Guard or federal reserve;

     b. the controller may also serve as controller for the city school district; and the deputy controller may also serve as deputy controller for the city school district;

     c. a treasurer, or person serving in that capacity, may also serve as treasurer for the city school district;

     d. member or employee of any sinking fund commission or pension board.

The letter, which was delivered the same day by messenger, stated that because Appellant may not have been aware of the details of the Charter, she would be given an opportunity to submit a copy of her resignation as an employee of the City Board of Education. The letter concluded: "Failure to immediately submit this letter to my office will leave me no choice but to terminate your employment with the Department of Police."

In response to his letter, the Superintendent received a letter from Appellant's attorney stating that Appellant

[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 172]

    was appealing the decision. Thereafter, the Superintendent notified Appellant in writing that she was suspended for five days and that if he did not receive a satisfactory response within that time, her employment would be terminated. Appellant's attorney then sent a demand to the Superintendent for a court hearing pursuant to Section 7 of the Policemen's Civil Service Act, Act of August 10, 1951, P.L. 1189, as amended, 53 P.S. § 23537. Finding this response unsatisfactory, the Superintendent dismissed Appellant as a police officer on July 5, 1978. Both the Pittsburgh Civil Service Commission and the trial court sustained her discharge, and this appeal followed.

Appellant contends: (1) that the Superintendent did not possess authority at law to discharge her; (2) that the Superintendent's failure to afford her a full adversarial hearing violated both her constitutional guarantees of due process and the Policemen's Civil Service Act; and (3) that Section 707 of the Charter, prohibiting dual employment with limited exceptions, is unconstitutional and violative of the Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law, Act of April 13, 1972, P.L. 62, as amended, 53 P.S. §§ 1-101 to 1-1309.

Superintendent Authority

Appellant contends that the Superintendent did not possess legal authority to discharge her under Section 701 of the Charter, which states:

The mayor shall propose a personnel system for approval and adoption by ordinance. The system shall be uniform for all employees. . . . Appointments, promotions and removals of subordinate officers and employees within major administrative units shall be made by ...


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