APPELLATE LAW – CIVIL
Beaver Cnty. v. Beaver Cnty. Deputy Sheriffs Ass’n, PICS Case No. 14-0025 (Pa. Commw. Jan. 7, 2014) Jubelirer, J. (19 pages).
Where sheriff’s deputies performing contracted security services in their official capacity likely violates a county ordinance prohibiting performing official services for any non-county entity during the period of their official services, issuance of a preliminary injunction was proper. Affirmed.
Beaver County (County) obtained a preliminary injunction enjoining the Beaver County Sheriff (Sheriff) and the Beaver County Deputy Sheriff’s Association (Association) from its practice of providing contracted security services, outside of their scheduled on-duty time, in their official capacity as deputy sheriffs, wearing their uniforms and using department vehicles and equipment, to private parties who would reimburse County for the deputy sheriffs’ pay.
County alleged that the practice was in violation of § 1210(a) of the County Code, which it argued prohibited deputy sheriffs from providing official services to non-County parties during the period of their official services. However, § 1210(d) did permit deputies to engage in outside employment during time they were not scheduled to perform official duties as a county employee.
In opposition, Association argued that § 1210(a) instead only prohibited deputy sheriffs from performing official services for non-County parties at the same time as they perform their official duties — double-dipping — but that § 1210(a) did not expressly prohibit its contracting practice, as deputies were only assigned to perform contracted services outside of their official on-duty time to the County, which constituted “extra-work” permitted by § 1210(d). Moreover, the Association asserted that the County ratified the practice by billing and receiving payment from the outside parties who contracted the services.
The court found that reasonable grounds existed to support the issuance of a preliminary injunction. It found that the County was likely to prevail on the issue of whether § 1210(a) prohibited the contracting services; although deputies were assigned to contracted services outside of their official duty time to the County, they were still working as County employees and were therefore providing services other parties during their official service to the County.
The court also rejected Association’s argument that the injunction would impact public interest as deputies also performed official law enforcement activities as part of its contracting services, as the court noted that the injunction did not prohibit deputies from performing official law enforcement duties at any time.