Appeals from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in case of In Re: Appeal of Satyagalam K. Desikachar, No. 1111.
Reynold J. Kosek, Assistant Attorney General, with him Edward V. A. Kussy, Assistant Attorney General, Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General, for Department of Transportation.
Stephen R. Krone, Dauphin County Legal Service Association, for Desikachar.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt. Concurring and Dissenting Opinion by Judge Rogers.
This matter is before the Court on cross appeals from an adjudication and order of the State Civil Service Commission ("Commission"), directing the Pennsylvania
Department of Transportation ("PennDOT") to restore Satyagalam K. Desikachar ("Desikachar") to the position of Civil Engineer II or III, without back pay.
Desikachar had been employed by PennDOT as a Civil Engineer III, regular status, and he was notified on December 11, 1970 that he was being dismissed. The reasons stated by PennDOT for his dismissal were: ". . . your inability to carry out your assigned duties and responsibilities; your distracting habit of reading aloud which reduced the effectiveness of those working in the squad and the immediate vicinity; your offensive personal body care; and your strange and sometimes erratic behavior." Desikachar appealed to the Commission and a hearing was held on January 20, 1971, at which the attorney for PennDOT suggested that Desikachar's irrational behavior indicated his mental condition to be such as would not enable him to participate fully in the appeal. Desikachar's attorney agreed, and he suggested that arrangements be made by PennDOT for his client to receive treatment. The Commission issued an order, therefore, restoring Desikachar to the PennDOT payroll as of December 14, 1970, but granting him sick leave until February 9, 1971, following which date PennDOT was authorized to place Desikachar on leave of absence if he should so request, for a period not to exceed 90 days.
On May 4, 1971, several days before the expiration of the leave of absence which had been granted, Desikachar was again notified that he was dismissed because he had failed to seek psychiatric help. Upon being informed that Desikachar was in fact receiving psychiatric treatment, PennDOT withdrew its removal order and once more placed him on a 90-day leave of absence.
Finally, Desikachar received another letter of dismissal, this dated August 5, 1971, to be effective immediately following the termination of the second 90-day
leave of absence on August 10, 1971. The reasons given for dismissal were identical to those given the first time. Desikachar, it should be noted, had at no time returned to work ...