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CITY BUTLER v. HENRY E. CLAUSER (03/30/89)

decided: March 30, 1989.

CITY OF BUTLER, APPELLANT
v.
HENRY E. CLAUSER, APPELLEE



Appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County in the case of Henry E. Clauser v. City of Butler, A.D. No. 328 of 1987.

COUNSEL

James P. Coulter, Dillon, McCandless & King, for appellant.

William C. Robinson, Henninger & Robinson, for appellee.

Judges Craig and Doyle, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 493]

The City of Butler appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County awarding Henry E. Clauser an increase in pay of $743.50. The amount represents a raise for one-half year of employment from January 1, 1985 through June 30, 1985.

Clauser was employed as a police officer by the City of Butler, and served as Chief of Police from September 23, 1979 up to the time of his retirement on June 30, 1985. Until January 1, 1984, the position of Chief of Police had been included in the police officers' bargaining unit. However, the position was removed from the bargaining unit on January 1, 1984, after a decision by city council to which Clauser did not object. Upon his removal from the bargaining unit, Clauser received an immediate salary increase of $4,765 (a 17% increase) from January of 1984, but no increase in 1985.

On January 1, 1984, a two-year collective bargaining agreement between the City of Butler and the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 32, went into effect. The agreement increased the salary of the highest ranking officer in the bargaining unit (the position of Captain) by $1,181 in 1984 and by $1,487 in 1985 (an overall increase of less than 11%).

Clauser filed an action for declaratory judgment contending that he is entitled to the same pay increase for 1985 as the highest ranking officer participating in the bargaining unit. The trial court awarded Clauser the requested sum pursuant to Section 1 of the Act of December 18, 1984, P.L. 1004 (Act), 43 P.S. ยง 218. The City now

[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 494]

    appeals the award, contending that the trial court interpreted the Act incorrectly.

The Act reads as follows:

Salary of nonunion police ...


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