Borough Mayor Has the Authority to Break a Tie Vote in Borough Council’s Decision to Appoint a Borough Solicitor

On March 26, 2015, the Commonwealth   Court affirmed the decision and order of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas that a borough mayor, pursuant to the Borough Code, has the authority to vote and break a tie among borough council members on a motion removing the current solicitor and appointing a new solicitor.  Our office represented the municipality in defense of the mayor’s ability to break the vote.

On appeal, the former solicitor argued that the authority to appoint or remove a borough solicitor lies solely with a borough’s council, and therefore, a borough’s mayor may not lawfully vote to break a tie regarding such appointment or removal.  The Court rejected the former solicitor’s assertion and found that  Section 1003 of the Borough Code expressly permits and, ultimately, mandates that a mayor participate in a borough council’s decision to declare and fill a borough office vacancy where there is a tie vote regarding such appointment or removal. M.L. Shields III v. Council of Borough of Braddock No. 893 C.D. 2014 (Pa. Cmwlth. March 27, 2015).

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported on MBM’s ruling on March 31, 2015 – Commonwealth Court ruling upholds Braddock mayor’s vote

Please contact Falco Muscante at fam@mbm-law.net or Rob Sonnenberg at rts@mbm-law.net if you have any questions.

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