[Adopted by Ord. No. 8-14-72C]
The purpose of the Community Relations Commission is to provide a committee whereby any-one having a community problem concerning discrimination in employment, housing, education or law enforcement may obtain advice and guidance on the solution to the problem by legal means, or by local cooperation and education.
As used in this ordinance, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated, unless a different meaning clearly appears from context:
COMMISSION — The Bethel Park Community Relations Commission.
DISCRIMINATE and DISCRIMINATION — Any difference in treatment based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or place of birth, sex, age and political beliefs.
EMPLOYEE — Shall not include any person employed in the domestic service of another or one employed by his parents, spouse or children.
EMPLOYER — Any person who employs four or more individuals in the Municipality of Bethel Park. It shall include the municipality and its departments, boards, commissions and agencies. Nothing herein shall prevent any religious or fraternal organization which is not supported in whole or part by any governmental appropriation from giving a preference to members of said religious or fraternal organization.
EMPLOYMENT AGENCY — Any person regularly undertaking with or without compensation to procure opportunities for employment or to procure, recruit, refer or place employees.
A building, structure or portion thereof which is used or occupied, or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied, as a home, residence or sleeping place by a person, family or group of persons living together.
A parcel of real property or lot available for the construction of commercial housing.
Buildings or vacant property to be used, sold or rented for commercial establishments.
HOUSING, COMMERCIAL — Having accommodations held or offered for sale or rent by a real estate broker, salesman or agent or any other person pursuant to authorization of the owner, by the owner himself or by legal representatives.
LABOR ORGANIZATION — Any organization which exists for the purpose in whole or in part of collective bargaining or of dealing with employers concerning grievances, terms or conditions of employment or of other mutual aid or protection in relation to employment.
LENDING INSTITUTION — Any bank, insurance company, savings and loan association or any other person regularly engaged in the business of lending money or guaranteeing loans.
OWNER — The owner, co-owner, lessee, sublessee, mortgagee, assignee, manager, agent or other person having the right of ownership or possession or the authority to sell, rent or lease any housing accommodation, and includes the Municipality of Bethel Park, its departments, boards, commissions and other agencies.
PERSON — Any individual, partnership, corporation, labor organization or other organization or association, including those acting in a fiduciary or representative capacity, whether appointed by a court or otherwise, partnerships, associations, the Municipality of Bethel Park and its boards, commissions and other agencies.
PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION, RESORT OR AMUSEMENT — Any place which is open to, accepts or solicits the patronage of the general public, including but not limited to inns, taverns, roadhouses, hotels and motels, whether conducted for the entertainment of transient guests or for the accommodation of those seeking health, recreation or rest; restaurants, eating houses or any place where food is sold for consumption on the premises; buffets, saloons, barrooms or any store, park or enclosure where spirituous or malt liquors are sold; ice cream parlors, confectioneries, soda fountains and all stores where ice cream, ice and fruit preparations or their derivatives or where beverages of any kind are retailed for consumption on the premises; drugstores, dispensaries, bathhouses, swimming pools, barbershops, beauty parlors, retail stores and establishments, theaters, motion picture houses, music halls, skating rinks, amusement and recreation parks, fairs, bowling alleys, gymnasiums, shooting galleries, billiard and pool parlors; public libraries, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, high schools, academies, extension courses and all educational institutions under the supervision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; garages and all public conveyances, as well as the stations and terminals thereof.
REAL ESTATE BROKER — Any natural person, partnership, corporation or other association which for a fee or other valuable consideration manages, sells, purchases, exchanges, rents or negotiates or offers or attempts to negotiate, the sale, purchase, exchange or rental of the real property of another or holds itself out as engaged in the business of managing, selling, purchasing, exchanging or renting the real property of another or collects rent for the use of the real property of another, and includes real estate salesmen or agents or any other person employed by a "real estate broker" to perform or to assist in the performance of his business.
There is hereby established in the Municipality of Bethel Park a Commission on Community Relations to function within said municipality and to administer, implement and enforce the provisions of this ordinance.
The Commission shall consist of nine members who are residents of the Municipality of Bethel Park, to serve four year terms. Initial appointments to said Commission shall be made by the Bethel Park Municipal Council for terms as follows: three members for four years; three members for three years; three members for two years. Commissioners may be appointed to successive terms of office and may be replaced by Council for failure to attend meetings or for other good cause after being notified by Council and being granted a hearing if the member so desires. Each member of the Commission shall continue in office until his successor has been appointed and qualified.
[Amended by Ord. No. 6-12-78F; by Ord. No. 4-9-79G]
The Commission shall elect one of its members as Chairman and may elect such other officers as it may deem necessary. The Chairman may, with the approval of the Commission, appoint such committees as may be necessary to carry out the powers and duties of the Commission, and the Commission may authorize such committees to take any necessary action for the Commission.
The Commission shall adopt such rules and regulations for its own organization, operations and procedures as the Commission shall deem necessary to administer, implement and enforce this ordinance.
The Community Relations Commission shall meet monthly during each calendar year and for any special meetings deemed necessary. Five or more members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and five votes consenting favorably to the action are necessary.
[Amended by Ord. No. 4-9-79G]
The members of the Community Relations Commission shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for all expenses previously authorized by the Council.
[Amended by Ord. No. 6-18-73C]
The Commission shall have the power to:
Receive, investigate and act on complaints alleging discrimination in the Municipality of Bethel Park against any person because of his race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, sex, age or political beliefs, and to seek the satisfactory conciliation of such complaints. In addition to any action that the Commission may take on such matters, if it is determined by the Commission that a respondent is violating the law of the United States of America or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, such complaint may be referred to the proper federal or state agency.
Certify, upon the request of any person, that a particular occupation or position is exempt from the provisions of this ordinance relating to unlawful employment practices if the Commission finds that the occupation or position reasonably requires the employment of a person or persons of a particular race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or place of birth or sex, and that such certification is not sought as a means of circumventing the spirit and purpose of this ordinance, the burden of proving the facts required for such a finding to be in each instance upon the person requesting the certification of exemption from the provisions of this ordinance.
Study, investigate and conciliate by means of public hearings or otherwise any conditions having an adverse effect on intergroup relations in the Municipality of Bethel Park, and the study the problems of prejudice, intolerance, bigotry and discrimination as they affect the public safety and general welfare of the Municipality of Bethel Park.
Institute and conduct educational and other programs to promote the equal rights and opportunities of all persons, regardless of their race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or place of birth, sex, marital status, age or political beliefs, and to promote understanding among persons and groups of different races, colors, religions, ancestries, national origins or places of birth, sexes, ages and political beliefs. In the performance of its duties, the Commission may cooperate with interested citizens, private agencies, the Bethel Park School District and agencies of the federal, state and local government.
Issue reports of investigation and research in the field of community relations, and to cooperate with and accept grants from public and private agencies, including foundations, colleges and universities, engaged in similar research.
Request other departments, boards and commissions of the Borough government to assist in the performance of its duties, and such departments, boards and commissions shall cooperate fully with the Commission.
Render, from time to time, but not less than once a year, a written report of its activities and recommendations to the Municipality Council.
Recommend legislation to promote and ensure equal rights and opportunities for all persons regardless of their race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or place of birth, sex, marital status, age or political beliefs.
A complaint charging that any person has engaged or is engaging in any unlawful practice as set forth in this ordinance, may be made by an aggrieved person or by an organization which has as one of its purposes the combating of discrimination or the promotion of equal opportunities, and any complaint may be amended by the complainant or the Commission at any time before final action has been taken by the Commission, in accordance with such rules and regulations as the Commission shall prescribe.
The complaint shall be in writing, signed and verified, and shall include the name and address of the person or persons alleged to have committed the unlawful practice, a concise statement of particulars thereof, and such other information any may be required by the Commission in the exercise of its regulatory powers.
The commission shall make a prompt and full investigation of each complaint of an unlawful practice.
If the Commission shall determine that there is no basis for the allegations in a complaint, the complaint shall be dismissed and the complainant notified in writing. Within 10 days from the receipt of such notice, the complainant or his attorney may file with the Commission a request for review, and the Commission shall provide the complainant and his attorney an opportunity to appear before the Commission, a member thereof, or a staff representative of the Commission. After such a review, the Commission may reverse its decision, or if the Commission or its representative determines that there is no basis for the allegation, the dismissal of the complaint shall be affirmed and there shall be no further review of such decision.
If the Commission determines, after investigation, that probable cause exists for the allegations made in the complaint, it may attempt to eliminate the unlawful practice by means of private conferences or meetings with all parties after serving a copy of the complaint on the person or persons alleged to have committed the unlawful practice. The Commission shall not make public the details of such informal proceedings, but it may publish the terms of any agreement when a complaint has been satisfactorily adjusted.
If the Commission shall determine that a housing accommodation, as defined in this Act, may be rented, sold or otherwise disposed of, before determination of the case has been made, and the Commission believes that there is probably cause to credit the allegations of the complaint filed before it, and cannot be reconciled by conferences, the complaint may be referred to proper legal authorities.
In case of any failure to eliminate the unlawful practice charged in the complaint by means of informal proceedings, or in advance thereof, if in the judgment of the Commission, the facts so warrant, the Commission may hold a public hearing to determine whether or not an unlawful practice in violation of the Act has, in fact, been committed.
Where a public hearing is held, the Commission shall require a majority of its members to be present to conduct such a hearing. The Commission shall serve upon the person charged with having engaged or engaging in the unlawful practice, hereinafter referred to as respondent, a copy of the complaint or amended complaint, and a notice of the time and place of the hearing. The hearing shall be held not less than 10 days after the service of the statement of charges. This hearing shall be open to the public unless the complainant or complainants, the respondent and a majority of the Commission all stipulate that the hearing shall be conducted in private. The respondent shall have the right to file an answer to the complaint no more than five days after service thereon, to appear at the hearing in person and to be represented by counsel at such hearing, and to present other evidence and rebuttal to the charges made by the complainant. The complainant shall have the right to be represented by private counsel. The Commission shall not be bound by certain rules of evidence prevailing in the courts of law or equity. The testimony taken at the hearing shall be under oath and shall be transcribed.
If, upon all evidence presented, the Commission finds that the respondent has not engaged in any unlawful practice, it shall state its findings of fact in writing and dismiss the complaint. If, upon all the evidence presented, the Commission finds that the respondent has engaged or is engaging in an unlawful practice, it shall state its findings of fact in writing and shall make same available to the State Human Relations Commission, if requested.
The transcribed testimony of Commission hearings, along with the findings and recommendations of the Commission, shall be kept on file with the official records of the Municipality Council.
The provisions of this ordinance are severable, and if any provision, sentence, clause, section or part thereof is held illegal, invalid or unconstitutional or inapplicable to any person or circumstance, such illegality, invalidity, unconstitutionality or inapplicability shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions, sentences, clauses, sections or parts of the ordinance or their application to other persons or circumstances. It is hereby declared to be the legislative intent that this ordinance would have been adopted if such illegal, invalid or unconstitutional provisions, sentences, clauses, sections or parts had not been included therein, and if the person or circumstances to which the ordinance or any part thereof is inapplicable had been specifically exempted therefrom.
Any person aggrieved may appeal a finding of the Commission under the local agency law, Act of December 2, 1968, P.L. 353, 53 P.S. 11301.