Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 5, et al. v. City of Philadelphia, No. 4085 December Term, 1985.
Anthony J. Molloy, Jr., Mozenter, Molloy & Durst, for appellants.
Ralph J. Teti, Chief Deputy City Solicitor, for appellee.
Judges Barry, Palladino and McGinley, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino. Judge MacPhail did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 611]
The Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 5 (FOP) and Carmen Christy, Augustine Pescatore, and Leonard Garris (Grievants) appeal an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County (trial court) denying
[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 612]
their appeal from a decision of an arbitrator in favor of the City of Philadelphia (City). We affirm.
Grievants were employed as police officers by the City. On July 20, 1984, Grievants were advised by the City that they were the subjects of a criminal investigation and were suspended pending dismissal. The City subsequently formally dismissed Grievants, with such dismissal retroactive to July 20, 1984. The City dismissed Grievants because, during a federal criminal trial involving fifteen other police officers employed by the City, Grievants were identified as participants in a police bribery and corruption scheme.*fn1 Grievants were not named as defendants in the federal action. However, two government witnesses, testifying under a grant of immunity, stated that Grievants, along with the named defendants, had accepted bribes from certain vice figures in exchange for protection from enforcement of gambling and liquor laws.*fn2
Grievants filed grievances pursuant to the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement to which FOP and the City were parties, asserting that their dismissals had not been for just cause.*fn3 The City's Police Commissioner denied the grievances at the initial stage and the matter was submitted to arbitration. At the hearings
[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 613]
held before the arbitrator, the City presented the testimony of the two witnesses from the federal trial who testified as to Grievants' involvement in the bribery scheme.*fn4 Based upon the evidence presented, the arbitrator determined that the City had established just cause for dismissing Grievants. Grievants and FOP then petitioned the trial court to vacate the award of the arbitrator. By order dated January 22, 1987, the trial court confirmed the arbitrator's award.
On appeal to this court, FOP and Grievants contend that the arbitrator erred in failing to sustain the grievances, alleging that the City dismissed Grievants solely on the basis of hearsay testimony and that the City did not follow its own operating procedures in determining whether to dismiss Grievants. FOP and Grievants also argue that the ...