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JUDGES COURT COMMON PLEAS TWENTY-SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT CHARLES G. SWEET v. COUNTY WASHINGTON AND PATRICIA BEHARRY (10/11/88)

decided: October 11, 1988.

JUDGES OF THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF THE TWENTY-SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT: CHARLES G. SWEET, THOMAS D. GLADDEN AND SAMUEL L. RODGERS, PETITIONERS
v.
COUNTY OF WASHINGTON AND PATRICIA BEHARRY, COUNTY CONTROLLER, RESPONDENTS



Original Jurisdiction in the case of Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of the Twenty-Seventh Judicial District; Charles G. Sweet, Thomas D. Gladden, John F. Bell, Samuel L. Rodgers, and Thomas J. Terputac v. County of Washington and Patricia Beharry, County Controller.

COUNSEL

Howland W. Abramson, for petitioners.

Christine A. Ward, with her, R. F. Wagner, Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, P.C., for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Barry. This decision was reached prior to the resignation of Judge MacPhail. Concurring and Dissenting Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Barry

[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 284]

Before us in our original jurisdiction*fn1 is a petition for review filed by petitioners (the Judges) of the Twenty-Seventh Judicial District (Washington County). The

[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 285]

Judges seek by way of a motion for summary judgment an order directing the County of Washington (County) and County Controller Patricia Beharry (the Controller), to authorize payments to certain employees supervised by the Judges.*fn2 There are two separate factual scenarios which are pertinent and which we shall briefly describe.

On August 17, 1983, in the absence of President Judge Sweet, Judge Samuel Rodgers granted certain employees of the Domestic Relations Office (the Office) paid leave to permit them to pay their respects to the head of the Office because of the death of his father. Further, three of these same employees were excused for two and one-half hours the next day, on August 18, 1983, to attend the funeral. On August 23, 1983, Judge Rodgers approved the list of employees and the amount of their leave. The Controller approved payment for one and one-half hours of time but no more because, as she asserts in her brief, she believed that the amount she approved was reasonable under the circumstances. Contrary to the assertions in her brief, however, the Controller, in her answer to the petition, while apparently conceding that the time had been approved by Judge Rodgers for the employees who left work to pay their respects on August 17th, nonetheless denied that time off had been approved for the purpose of attending the funeral on August 18th.*fn3 She also contends that the

[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 286]

    applicable collective bargaining agreement prohibited payment for the funeral leave.*fn4 The question we must decide is whether the Controller had the authority to deny the claims.

The other issue which we must decide pertains to Lisa B. Morris, who was a law clerk for Judge Rodgers on June 6, 1983. She was hired as a salaried employee. Ms. Morris took time off on July 21, 22, and 25 to study for the Pennsylvania bar examination and ...


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