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JOHNSTON APPEAL (07/17/56)

July 17, 1956

JOHNSTON APPEAL


Appeals, Nos. 144 and 148, April T., 1955, from orders of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1953, Nos. 1662 and 1654, in re appeals of Raymond W. Johnston and Lida O'Leary, from the orders of the Civil Service Commission. Orders affirmed.

COUNSEL

John Duggan, Jr., with him Charles J. Maloney, for appellants.

Louis Rosenberg, Assistant City Solicitor, with him J. Frank McKenna, Jr., City Solicitor, for appellees.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Carr, JJ.

Author: Wright

[ 181 Pa. Super. Page 449]

OPINION BY WRIGHT, J.

Raymond W. Johnston was employed as a cashier in, and eventually as supervisor of, the per capita tax division in the office of the Treasurer of the City of Pittsburgh. Lida O'Leary was employed in the same division as a clerk. There were six employes in all, a supervisor (Johnston), four cashiers, and a clerk (O'Leary). The office of the division has two receiving windows at which the cashiers work in turns. The

[ 181 Pa. Super. Page 450]

    supervisor assigns a cash box and an identification die or cashier's stamp to each of the cashiers. The cash boxes have different numbers and the corresponding die or stamp carries the same number. Each day's collections are balanced with the duplicates of the receipts issued, and each cashier is responsible for the money collected by him and for his cash box and die. The clerk's duty was to process checks received in the mail, and she was given an identification stamp of her own. In November 1952, it appeared that certain losses had occurred in the per capita tax division. These losses became evident when delinquent notices were brought into the office with evidence of payments having been made, for which no duplicate receipts were found. Investigations were conducted by the City Treasurer, District Attorney, and representatives of the bonding company. The accumulated loss was disclosed to be over $5,000.00. While these investigations failed to establish the individual criminal responsibility of any of the employes, all six were suspended. The four cashiers were subsequently reinstated. Johnston and O'Leary were dismissed as of May 19, 1953. They appealed to the Civil Service Commission which heard considerable testimony, made findings of fact and conclusions of law, and sustained the decision of the City Treasurer in each case. Appeals were then taken to the Court of Common Pleas. After argument before the court en banc, the appeals were dismissed, and these appeals to the Superior Court followed.

At the oral argument we raised the question of our jurisdiction, and the parties agreed that the appeals should be heard and decided by the Superior Court. While the appeals are separate, they arise out of the same general factual situation, involve the testimony of the same witnesses, raise identical questions, and

[ 181 Pa. Super. Page 451]

    were argued together. We will therefore write but one opinion.

In its decision in the Johnston case, the Civil Service Commission found, inter alia, that it was Johnston's duty and responsibility to direct and control the work of the four cashiers and the clerk under his supervision; that, at the time of his appointment as supervisor, he was specifically instructed by the City Treasurer "that it was his responsibility to see that every one in his division was to do his own work in a proper manner"; that he nevertheless permitted Mrs. O'Leary "to receive per capita tax payments at the cashier's windows, to use the stamps of the cashiers and to sign their names or initials on receipts issued by her where said cashiers were temporarily absent"; that, when a cashier was temporarily absent from his assigned window, Johnston permitted another cashier to "receive payments at the absentee's window, use said absentee's cash box and stamp, and issue receipts bearing his name or initials"; and that Johnston himself "on occasions used the cash boxes and stamps of temporarily absent cashiers". Concluding that Johnston "was careless, negligent and inefficient in the performance of his known duty when he permitted on various occasions, the indiscriminate practice" detailed above; that he knew that confusion would result therefrom and that the practice ...


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