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RONALD R. DONATUCCI v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/20/88)

decided: September 20, 1988.

RONALD R. DONATUCCI, REGISTER OF WILLS, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD AND FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE, LODGE NO. 5, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, in the case of Ronald R. Donatucci, Register of Wills v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board and Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 5, No. 4485 August Term, 1985.

COUNSEL

Richard C. McNeill, Jr., Assistant City Solicitor, for appellant.

John B. Neurohr, with him, James L. Crawford, for appellee, Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.

Anthony C. Busillo, II, for appellee, Fraternal Order of Police.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Doyle, Barry, Colins, Palladino, McGinley and Smith. Opinion by Judge Barry. Judge Colins dissents.

Author: Barry

[ 119 Pa. Commw. Page 544]

Ronald R. Donatucci, Register of Wills of the City of Philadelphia (Register) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia denying his petition for reconsideration and reinstating an earlier order affirming a final order issued by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board). We affirm.

On April 20, 1984, the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 5 (FOP) filed a petition for representation with the Board. The FOP sought to represent a bargaining unit comprised of "[a]ll court-related employees within the jurisdiction of the Board, including, but not limited to, the offices of Sheriff and Register of Wills" in the City of Philadelphia. The Register filed a petition to intervene in the proceedings before the Board. The Board permitted the Register to participate in its proceedings pending a decision on the petition.

[ 119 Pa. Commw. Page 545]

On June 8, 1984, following a hearing held on May 15, 1984, at which the Register appeared with counsel and participated, the Hearing Examiner issued an order directing submission of eligibility lists and further, finding that the Register had no standing to intervene in the proceedings. On April 12, 1985, the Board entered a nisi order certifying the FOP as the exclusive representative of the unit. The Register filed exceptions which were addressed then dismissed by the Board and a final order was subsequently issued on July 20, 1985.

The Register appealed the Board's order to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia which affirmed. The Register now appeals to this Court.

Our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether the Board's findings are supported by substantial evidence and whether the conclusions deduced therefrom are reasonable and not arbitrary, capricious or illegal. Appeal of Cumberland Valley School District, 483 Pa. 134, 394 A.2d 946 (1978).

The Register argues first that the Board erred in denying his petition to intervene. After a careful review of the record, however, we find that the Register's appeal from the Hearing Examiner's order dismissing his petition to intervene was untimely and accordingly, the trial court was without jurisdiction to address it.

The Hearing Examiner's order dismissing the Register's petition to intervene was entered with its order directing submission of eligibility lists on June 8, 1984. Pursuant to 34 Pa. Code § 95.44(c), a hearing examiner has the authority to act on petitions to intervene:

(c) The Board or any member of the Board, or the hearing examiner, as the case may be, may, by orders, permit intervention in person, by counsel, or by other representative to such extent and upon such terms as they may deem proper.

(Emphasis added.)

[ 119 Pa. Commw. Page 546]

Our review of the record reveals that no exceptions to the hearing examiner's order dismissing the Register's petition to intervene were filed. 34 Pa. Code § 95.98(b) provides, "When no exceptions are filed to a proposed decision, it will become final upon the expiration of 20 days from the date of issuance." Further, the Register's appeal to the trial court was not filed until August 28, 1985, after the issuance of the Board's final order certifying the collective bargaining unit and the FOP as its representative.

We note that none of the parties to this action have raised the question of the timeliness of the Register's appeal. However, periods of time for the filing of appeals are jurisdictional. Miller v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 505 Pa. 8, 476 A.2d 364 (1984). Accordingly, "[a]lthough the parties did not raise or address [the issue], we are obligated to raise the matter on our own motion sua sponte. . . ." Pennsylvania Dental Assoc. v. Insurance Department, 512 Pa. 217, 230-31, 516 A.2d 647, 654 (1986). We conclude, then, that the trial court did not have jurisdiction to address the Register's appeal insofar as it related to the ...


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