Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County in case of City of Carbondale v. Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 63, and John Barbaro and Walter Connor, No. 85-CIV 5849.
Armand E. Olivetti, Jr., for appellant.
Robert A. Mazzoni, for appellees, John Barbaro and Walter Connor.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judge Doyle, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 326]
The City of Carbondale (City) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, which dismissed the City's petition for review of an arbitration award and affirmed the award. We affirm the trial court.*fn1
John Barbaro and Walter Connor (Appellees) were police officers for the City. On December 21, 1983, Appellees were promoted in rank by the mayor of the City. In January of 1984, the City's new outgoing-mayor refused to honor the promotions, ostensibly because they were made in violation of the City's Home Rule Charter (Charter) and Administrative Code (Code).*fn2 Both Appellees filed grievances.
By stipulation, the parties by-passed the grievance procedure in the collective bargaining agreement and proceeded directly to arbitration on the issue of whether the City failed to abide by the collective bargaining agreement in refusing to recognize the promotions of Appellees. The arbitrators found that the City failed to abide by the collective bargaining agreement; that the promotions were made in accordance with a long-standing practice of promoting officers; and that there
[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 327]
was no established alternative procedure for promoting employees contrary to that practice. On appeal by the City, the court of common pleas found that the arbitrator's award was drawn from the essence of the collective bargaining agreement. The City appeals to this Court.
The City makes two primary arguments: 1) that the court of common pleas erred in applying the "essence test"; and 2) that the promotions violated the City's Home Rule Charter and Administrative Code.
In cases under Act 111,*fn3 which covers municipal police and firefighters, the appropriate scope of review of an arbitrator's award was set forth in Washington Arbitration Case, 436 Pa. 168, 259 A.2d 437 (1969). Our Supreme Court in that case held that review of an arbitration award under Act 111 is available only by narrow certiorari where the only questions that can be considered are questions of jurisdiction, the regularity of proceedings before the arbitrator, excess in the exercise of powers, and constitutional issues. The City, however, asserts that the Uniform Arbitration Act (UAA),*fn4 passed in 1980, now provides the appropriate standard of review of arbitration awards, and that the "essence test" standard is no longer the proper standard. We reject this argument; even after the passage of the UAA, our Supreme Court has continued, in Act 111 cases, to adhere to the scope of review set forth in Washington Arbitration Case and, most recently in Appeal of ...