City of Rocky River v. State Employment Relations Bd.

Decision Date10 February 1989
Docket NumberNo. 87-157,87-157
Citation530 N.E.2d 1,39 Ohio St.3d 196
Parties, 129 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2975, 57 USLW 2306, 1988 SERB 4-87 CITY OF ROCKY RIVER, Appellant v. STATE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS BOARD et al., Appellees.
CourtOhio Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court

[1988 SERB 4-88] 1. R.C. 4117.14(I) is unconstitutional to the extent that it violates a municipality's right to exercise its powers of local self-government under Sections 3 and 7, Article XVIII of the Ohio Constitution, because it interferes with a municipality's power to determine municipal safety employee compensation.

2. R.C. 4117.14(I) is unconstitutional to the extent that it unlawfully delegates municipal legislative authority by mandating binding arbitration for collective bargaining disputes over municipal safety employee benefits and wages.

In 1983 the General Assembly adopted new R.C. Chapter 4117, the Ohio Public Employees' Collective Bargaining Act, which established the procedures for the representation of public employees by labor unions. R.C. 4117.14(D)(1), in particular, provides for dispute settlement between the exclusive representative of public safety employees and a public employer. After the exclusive representative and the public employer have failed to reach an agreement and have engaged in fact-finding, the dispute is to be submitted to a conciliator, in effect an arbitrator, for final offer binding arbitration. R.C. 4117.14(I) mandates that the issuance of a final offer settlement award be binding upon the parties to the dispute.

After this section of the Act became effective in 1984, appellant, the city of Rocky River, recognized the Rocky River Firefighters (IAFF), Local 695 ("the union") as the exclusive representative of fire fighters in the city and bargained with it with respect to wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment. Following an impasse over the issue of wages, the city and the union participated in fact-finding, the first stage of the dispute-resolution process. The city rejected the fact-finder's report, triggering the binding final offer arbitration provision of the Act's dispute-resolution "conciliation" mechanism. The city agreed to proceed with the conciliation process, but stated in advance that it would not be bound by the "binding mandate," whether favorable or unfavorable, because of the constitutional infirmities of R.C. 4117.14(I). The conciliator issued an award on February 21, 1985, adopting the union's position, which became a "binding mandate" under the Act. Subsequently, on March 14, 1985, the city and the union reached an agreement providing for wages and wage adjustments during this litigation and, if appropriate, upon the conclusion thereof.

Prior to the conciliator's award however, on February 6, 1985, Rocky River filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a judgment that R.C. 4117.14(I) violates the Ohio Constitution by mandating binding arbitration for collective bargaining disputes between the exclusive representative of safety employees and municipal employers. Appellees, the State Employment Relations Board ("SERB"), and the Rocky River Firefighters (IAFF), Local 695 filed motions for summary judgment seeking to uphold the constitutionality of R.C. 4117.14(I).

Rocky River responded with its cross-motion for summary judgment challenging the constitutionality of R.C. 4117.14(I) as a violation of the city's home-rule powers and as an unlawful delegation of legislative power. The trial court granted appellees' motions and denied the city's cross-motion. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's decision.

The case is now before this court pursuant to the allowance of a motion to certify the record.

Calfee, Halter & Griswold, Mark I. Wallach, William E. Coughlin, John E. Gotherman, Cleveland, and Russell A. Olson, Law Director, Rocky River, for appellant.

Anthony J. Celebrezze, Jr., Atty. Gen., and Loren L. Braverman, Columbus, for appellee State Employment Relations Bd.

Joseph W. Diemert, Jr. & Associates Co., L.P.A., Joseph W. Diemert, Jr., Mayfield Heights, and William F. Schmitz, Chardon, for appellee Rocky River Firefighters Ass'n, Local 695.

Berkman, Gordon, Murray & Palda, George W. Palda and Lorraine R. Baumgardner, Cleveland, for appellee AFSCME Ohio Council 8.

Conway, Barclay, Deyo & Kurant Co., L.P.A., and Donald K. Barclay, Cleveland, urging reversal for amicus curiae, Ohio Mun. League.

[1988 SERB 4-89] MOYER, Chief Justice.

The issue of first impression presented in this case is whether R.C. 4117.14(I), which mandates binding arbitration for collective bargaining disputes between the exclusive representatives of municipal safety forces and a municipal employer, is unconstitutional to the extent that it violates the city of Rocky River's powers of local self-government and is an improper delegation of legislative power. For the reasons stated below, we answer that question in the affirmative and accordingly reverse the judgment of the court of appeals.

I

R.C. 4117.14(I) states:

"The issuance of a final offer settlement award constitutes a binding mandate to the public employer and the exclusive representative to take whatever actions are necessary to implement the award."

The city initially challenges R.C. 4117.14(I) as a violation of its powers of local self-government, usurping its power to set the wages of its safety forces. The general provisions creating municipal home rule in Ohio are found in Sections 3 and 7, Article XVIII of the Ohio Constitution. Section 3, Article XVIII states:

"Municipalities shall have authority to exercise all powers of local self-government and to adopt and enforce within their limits such local police, sanitary and other similar regulations, as are not in conflict with general laws."

Section 7, Article XVIII reads:

"Any municipality may frame and adopt or amend a charter for its government and may, subject to the provisions of section 3 of this article, exercise thereunder all powers of local self-government."

Any serious student of Ohio jurisprudence must conclude that the contention created in the process of defining "local self-government" and the authority to adopt local police, sanitary and other similar regulations that are not in conflict with general laws is a contention that is matched by few other areas of the law.

In State, ex rel. Toledo, v. Lynch (1913), 88 Ohio St. 71, 97, 102 N.E. 670, 673, Chief Justice Shauck defined "home-rule powers" succinctly as "such powers of government as, in view of their nature and the field of their operation, are local and municipal in character."

This court has repeatedly recognized the power of a municipality to establish wages for its employees. In Northern Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Assn. v. Parma (1980), 61 Ohio St.2d 375, 383, 15 O.O.3d 450, 455, 402 N.E.2d 519, 525, we cited State, ex rel. Mullin, v. Mansfield (1971), 26 Ohio St.2d 129, 55 O.O.2d 239, 269 N.E.2d 602, in holding that: "It has been firmly established that the ability to determine the salaries paid to city employees is a fundamental power of self-government." We have also observed that "[a] municipality which incorporates the provisions of the Revised Code relating to municipal civil service in its charter does not, in view of R.C. 124.14(B), divest city council of its authority to determine wages of city employees, nor does it empower the municipal civil service commission to order standardization of wages of the employees of the municipality." Teamsters Local Union No. 377 v. Youngstown (1980), 64 Ohio St.2d 158, 18 O.O.3d 379, 413 N.E.2d 837, syllabus.

And, we have held that, "[n]ot only does city council have the authority to determine the wages of city employees under Section 10 of the charter, but it also has that authority as a power of local self-government under Section 3 of Article XVIII of the Ohio Constitution regardless of whether a charter has been adopted. See State, ex rel. Mullin, v. Mansfield, supra; Northern Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Assn. v. Parma (1980), 61 Ohio St.2d 375 ; Craig v. Youngstown (1954), 162 Ohio St. 215 ." Id. at 162, 18 O.O.3d at 382, 413 N.E.2d at 840. In 1982 the court applied Teamsters Local Union No. 377 v. Youngstown, supra, when it stated: "Our decision in Tamsters recognizes that a municipality need not adhere to the pay ranges and schedule of rates set forth in R.C. 124.15(A), given the power of city council to determine wages of city employees. Accordingly, a civil service commission has no power to order standardization of wages of city employees performing similar duties. The city is free to establish its own pay scale." State, ex rel. Vukovich, v. Youngstown Civil Service Comm. (1982), 69 Ohio St.2d 16, 19, 23 O.O.3d 42, 44, 430 N.E.2d 452, 454.

Appellees maintain that R.C. 4117.14(I) was enacted by the General Assembly for the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Ohio and, as such, is a general law applicable to municipalities, notwithstanding Section 3, Article XVIII of the Ohio Constitution. Further, appellees argue that R.C. 4117.14(I) manifests a statewide concern for the integrity of the collective bargaining process in the public sector, and has significant extraterritorial effects affecting the general public of the state more than the residents of any single municipality.

Appellee Firefighters Association cites Weir v. Rimmelin (1984), 15 Ohio St.3d 55, 56, 15 OBR 151, 152, 472 N.E.2d 341, 343, in support of its position:

"Where the General Assembly has enacted legislation pursuant to the state's police power which governs a statewide concern, the statute takes precedence over ordinances enacted under the home rule authority of municipalities. Clermont Environmental Reclamation Co. v. Wiederhold (1982), 2 Ohio St.3d 44 ; State, ex rel. Evans, v. Moore (1982), 69 Ohio St.2d 88 ; Cleveland Elec. Illum. Co. v. Painesville (1968)...

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