Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in the case of Joseph S. Bianco and William L. Blumling v. Robinson Township, a First Class Township, David Winning, William Kisow, Harry E. Postufka, James Bradley and Terry Ambrose, No. GD88-03084.
Paul M. Daniels, for appellants/appellees, Joseph S. Bianco and William L. Blumling.
David F. Toal, with him, John Linkosky, Baskin, Flaherty, Elliott & Mannino, P.C., for appellees/appellants, Robinson Township et al.
Judges Doyle and Colins, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Kalish.
[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 60]
This case involves a dispute between the minority and the majority commissioners of Robinson Township regarding the promotion of two police officers. The minority commissioners (appellants) filed a complaint in equity on February 22, 1988, seeking to enjoin the promotion of police officers Ambrose and Bradley. The Township, the majority commissioners, and police officers Ambrose and Bradley (appellees) filed preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer.
This appeal is from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which sustained the preliminary objections of the appellees, and granted the appellants leave to appeal to the Robinson Township Civil Service Commission (Civil Service Commission) nunc pro tunc. The appellees have filed a cross-appeal contending that the court of common pleas erred in allowing an appeal nunc pro tunc after the expiration of the statutory appeal period. We affirm that part of the trial court's order which sustained the appellees' preliminary objections, and we reverse that part of the trial court's order
[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 61]
which granted appellants leave to file a nunc pro tunc appeal to the Civil Service Commission.
The trial court examined the appellants' complaint to determine whether it set forth a cause of action. The trial court in its opinion, stated the following about the complaint:
On January 26, 1988 the Robinson Township Civil Service Commission held a regular meeting. At that meeting the majority commissioners, three of the named defendants, appeared and requested a copy of the eligibility list for the promotion of police officers. Thereafter on January 27, 1988 defendant Winning, president of the Board of Commissioners, wrote a letter to the Civil Service Commission authorizing the immediate promotion of defendants Bradley and Ambrose to the rank of Sergeant. Bradley was number one and Ambrose number three on the eligibility list. The majority commissioners made the decision to promote Bradley and Ambrose on January 26, 1988 without a public hearing in violation of the Sunshine Act. Plaintiffs' complaint then acknowledges that the action of January 26, 1988 was thoroughly debated at a regular meeting of the entire board of commissioners where resolution No. 1 was adopted re-affirming the promotion of these two police officers. Plaintiffs then argue that the February 8, 1988 re-affirmation of the January 26, 1988 action was invalid because the eligibility list from which the officers were promoted was outdated.
Since there were no factual disputes, the trial court could interpret the applicable law and resolve the merits of the claim. The trial court found that the ...