Are County Judges the Managerial Representatives In Collective Bargaining With Employees ?

In Ellenbogen v. County of Allegheny, 479 Pa. 429, 388 A.2d 730 (1978), the Supreme Court held that the county commissioners, not the county judges, are the managerial representatives in collective bargaining with employees supervised by the judiciary, such as the bail agency, probation office and law library. In so doing, the Court rejected the county judiciary's argument that the county commissioners, serving in this capacity, hindered the independent administration of the courts. The Court noted that "if results of bargaining pose a genuine threat to the judicial function, nothing in Act 195 or our decision precludes the judiciary from taking steps reasonably necessary to assure the independence of the judicial branch." Id. at 438, 388 A.2d at 734.