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SNIZASKI v. ZALESKI. (03/28/63)

March 28, 1963

SNIZASKI, APPELLANT.
v.
ZALESKI.



Appeal, No. 51, March T., 1963, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Jan. T., 1962, No. 466, in case of Adam Snizaski, Eugene Grzybek, Theodore W. Reed et al. v. Edward Zaleski, Anthony Giordano, Howard Dunhoff et al. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Irving M. Green, for appellants.

Daniel J. Snyder, Special Counsel, with him Harry W. Crum, City Solicitor, for appellees.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Cohen

[ 410 Pa. Page 549]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN

This is an appeal from a judgment in a mandamus proceeding, by agreement tried without a jury, instituted against appellees, the Mayor and City Council of New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Appellants, police and firemen dismissed from their jobs by appellees without a hearing, seek reinstatement to their former positions and damages for back wages. The court below denied the relief requested and an appeal was taken to this Court.

Before appellants can question the propriety of their removal, the burden is on them to establish that they were properly appointed under the civil service provisions of the Third Class City Code. Manning v. Millbourne Borough Civil Service Commission, 387 Pa. 176, 179, 127 A.2d 599, 600-01 (1956); Detoro v. Pittston, 344 Pa. 254, 257, 25 A.2d 299, 301 (1942). If their original appointment as police and firemen was not in conformity with the Code and regulations passed thereunder, then appellants are not entitled to the civil service protection afforded by that Act.

Under section 4404 of The Third Class City Code, each civil service board "shall ... adopt ... rules and regulations to cover the selection and appointment" of civil service employees including provisions for examinations

[ 410 Pa. Page 550]

    on all subjects considered necessary to determine the qualifications of applicants. Act of June 23, 1931, P.L. 932, art. XLIV, § 4404, as re-enacted by the Act of June 28, 1951, P.L. 662, § 44, 53 P.S. § 39404.

In accordance with this provision, the New Kensington Civil Service Board adopted regulations providing, inter alia, that questions used in any examination be first approved by the Board; that papers be examined by at least two members of the Board; that the Board give two weeks' public notice prior to any examination; and that the Board seek to ascertain the habits, experience, standing and reputation of the applicants in the community. The findings of fact by the court below - which are amply supported by the record and with which we agree - were that these regulations were disregarded.

The purpose of the civil service acts was to establish a system whereby municipal employees would be selected on the basis of their qualifications. Commonwealth ex rel. Donahue v. Shields, 350 Pa. 129, 132, 38 A.2d 17, 18 (1944). In order to insure and maintain the high standards established by the civil service laws, we have repeatedly held that strict compliance with their provisions is required and that substantial compliance is not sufficient. See, e.g., Manning v. Millbourne Borough Civil Service ...


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