Is the Five-Year Employment Contract Given to the Secretary or Executive Director by An Outgoing Board Enforceable ?

In Mitchell v. Chester Housing Authority, 389 Pa. 314, 132 A.2d 873 (1957) the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that a municipal housing authority organized pursuant to the Housing Authorities Law, Act of May 28, 1937, P.L. 955, as amended, 35 P.S. 1541 - 1565, was performing a governmental function insofar as it exercised police powers of the Commonwealth in connection with a large part of its operation. The court held as well that a five-year employment contract given to the secretary/executive director by an outgoing board majority was intended to bind successor boards; that it was the crucial administrative position that embodied the authority's governmental function and required an intimate relationship with the board; and that successor boards should not be hamstrung by the imposition of a policy-implementing and to some extent policymaking machinery not attuned to the new body's policies. Thus the contract was unenforceable.