CLEARFIELD – The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued an opinion Nov. 16 in regard to Clearfield County Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts Brian Spencer’s appeal of an administrative order handed down by Judges Fredric J. Ammerman and Paul E. Cherry.
In July, the judges issued the administrative order to set strict deadlines for court paperwork to be completed by Spencer’s office. It was issued due to inefficiencies and a paperwork backlog in the clerk’s office.
According to the Commonwealth Court’s opinion, Spencer appealed the judges’ administrative order in August, which he later amended. He also filed a motion for a stay pending the appeals process.
In October, Spencer petitioned to withdraw the motion for a stay pending the appeals process. The court granted the motion and subsequently scheduled a contempt hearing.
However, Spencer proceeded to file an emergency application for a stay pending the appeals process with the court. The court granted the application pending argument.
The Court of Common Pleas responded to Spencer’s emergency application by filing an answer and an application to quash.
In its motion, the Court of Common Pleas asserted that the administrative order is not a final, appealable order and maintained that the court lacks jurisdiction.
The Commonwealth Court concurred. It determined that the judges’ administrative order doesn’t fit into any of the categories of cases outlined in the Judicial Code.
“… President Judge Ammerman acted within his authority to supervise court personnel, which includes its prothonotary and clerk of courts, and he issued the order to implement an executive decision he made in his capacity as the president judge and administrator of the Court of Common Pleas,” said Senior Judge Keith B. Quigley.
In the opinion, Quigley also said that the administrative order – signed by the judges – was not a final, appealable order and therefore the appeal filed by Spencer was quashed.
Quigley said that since the appeal was quashed, the issue as to the stay of the administrative order is no longer a valid issue and the emergency application by Spencer for a stay of the administrative order was dismissed as moot.
The administrative order issued by the judges remains in place and effect, according to Court Administrator F. Cortez Bell III.