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County Court has confirmed a Chief of Police can be an at-will employee who is subject to the terms of an employment agreement.

October 1, 2018
Romutis v. Borough of Elwood City, 10999 of 2015, C.A., -- Pa. D. & C. –d ---- (Pa. Lawrence County Aug. 27, 2018)

The Borough of Elwood City hired a Chief of Police in 2010 outside of the Civil Service Commission procedure and subject to an employment agreement, which stated the Chief was an at-will employee. The Borough voted to eliminate the position of Chief of Police in 2014. The Chief then sued the Borough, alleging his termination was a breach of contract and a violation of public policy. The county judge entered an order granting the Borough’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the Borough complied with the terms of the valid employment contract—in which the Chief agreed to employment at-will—when it eliminated the position and provided the required payment for terminating the contract without just cause. Additionally, the court found, by admitting that he was not subject to the Civil Service Commission, the Chief was not subject to the administrative remedies requirement of the civil service and unable to claim a public policy violation, namely, that eliminating his position violated § 1190 of the Civil Service Act. 



Case Law Alerts, 4th Quarter, October 2018

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