OPINION BY PRESIDENT JUDGE CRUMLISH, JR. August 14, 1986:
The Allegheny County Commissioners
The Commissioners appointed Jones to the Board for a six-year term commencing January 1, 1983. There are seven members of the Board serving staggered terms (terms expiring in separate years). The Commissioners adopted a policy requiring that "all County employees shall be required to retire at age seventy. . . ." (Emphasis added.) Jones was eighty-one years old when
Our scope of review of a common pleas court order in a mandamus action is limited to determining whether there was an error of law or an abuse of discretion. Trinisewski v. Hudock, 90 Pa.Commw. 159, 494 A.2d 504 (1985).
The Commissioners contend that Jones is removable at their will, relying upon Section 450 of the Second Class County Code,
Our Supreme Court in Watson v. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, 386 Pa. 117, 125 A.2d 354 (1956), held that where the legislature mandates the appointment of officials to staggered terms, the appointing power designated by the legislature (in that case the Governor) may not remove an official at its pleasure.
The Commissioners alternatively contend that the mandatory retirement policy applies to Jones as a condition of his office. We reject this contention.
The policy's language plainly reaches only County employees. Members of the Board, however, are County officials, as they are appointed to hold a quasi-judicial office. See Section 2(e) of the Act and Bily v. Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review of Allegheny County, 353 Pa. 49, 44 A.2d 250 (1945). The fact that Jones is paid out of County funds and is entitled to a County pension does not make him an employee. Elected row office officials, who are clearly not employees, are also paid their salaries from County funds and covered by the County retirement system.
We hold that Jones may not be removed from the Board at the Commissioner's will and is not subject to the County's mandatory retirement policy. Hence, we affirm the common pleas court's order.
The Allegheny County Common Pleas Court order, No. 85-11515 dated August 28, 1985, is affirmed.