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Borough of St. Clair v. St. Clair Police Department

July 13, 2011

BOROUGH OF ST. CLAIR
v.
ST. CLAIR POLICE DEPARTMENT,
APPELLANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bernard L. McGINLEY, Judge

Argued: March 7, 2011

BEFORE: HONORABLE BERNARD L. McGINLEY, Judge HONORABLE RENEE COHN JUBELIRER, Judge HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, Judge

OPINION BY JUDGE McGINLEY

St. Clair Police Department (Department) appeals the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County (trial court) which reversed and vacated the disputed portion of an Interest Arbitration Award (Award) entered pursuant to 43 P.S. §§217.1-217.10*fn1 commonly referred to as "Act 111."

The Borough of St. Clair (Borough) is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Department is the exclusive representative of the police employees of the Borough.

On August 24, 2009, an arbitration board modified various provisions of the parties' existing Award, including overtime during unscheduled absences and emergencies. The term of the Award was from January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2011.

Article VIII, Section 3 of the Interest Award provided that overtime would be offered to full-time officers first using a rotating system based on seniority, to fill vacancies during unscheduled absences and emergencies:

Overtime would be defined to be hours worked in excess of eight (8) hours in a day for scheduled eight (8) hour shifts or in excess of ten (10) hours in a day for scheduled ten (10) hours shifts or in excess of forty (40) hours in a work week.

Overtime shall be offered to full-time officers first, using a rotating seniority system. If no full-time officer accepts the shift, the vacancy may be offered to part-time officers. For purposes of this section, overtime shall mean unscheduled absences that arise after the schedule for full-time and part-time officers has been posted and in emergency situations.

Absent any emergency situation, no officer shall work in a police capacity for more than sixteen (16) hours in a twenty-four (24) hour period.

Interest Arbitration Award, June 30, 2009, Article VIII, Section 3 at 1; Reproduced Record (R.R.) at 9a (Emphasis added).

On September 17, 2009, the Borough filed a Petition for Review. It alleged that the Award "improperly limits the power of the Mayor of the Borough to control the Chief of Police and the police force and direct a time during which, the place where, and the manner in which the Chief of Police and the police force shall perform their duties as provided by Section 1121 of the Borough Code, 53 P.S. §46121.*fn2 " Petition for Review, ¶6 at 2.

Specifically, the Borough argued that Section 1121 of the Borough Code, 53 P.S. §46121, gives the Mayor the statutory right to "have full charge and control of the chief of police and the police force, and he shall direct the time during which, the place where and the manner in which, the chief of police and the police force shall perform their duties...."

The Borough did not dispute that "regularly scheduled overtime" may be a subject of collective bargaining. However, the Borough contended that the arbitration board exceeded its jurisdiction and powers because the Award unduly restricted the Mayor's ability to schedule police officers ...


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