Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in case of In Re: Appeal of Thomas J. Mettee, No. 1220.
Richard B. Sigmond, with him Leonard Spear and Meranze, Katz, Spear & Bielitsky, for appellant.
Martin R. Cohen, Assistant Attorney General, with him Lawrence T. Hoyle, Jr., Deputy Attorney General, and J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General, for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. President Judge Bowman did not participate. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson.
This is an appeal from an Order of the State Civil Service Commission sustaining the dismissal of appellant from his position of Parole Agent II, regular status, following a 30-day suspension. There is relatively little difference of opinion between counsel for the parties with regard to the legal principles which apply. The issue resolves itself quickly into whether the Commission had substantial evidence to support its Order approving the action of the Board of Probation and Parole in suspending the appellant for 30 days and in dismissing him. We hold that the record does support the Order of the Commission.
Appellant worked as a parole agent for some 16 months and appears to have had a satisfactory work record other than as the facts developed in this case.
At the time of his employment interview, it was explained that the position of parole agent required him to be available 24 hours a day and that if he attempted to continue his education, it could not interfere with his duties. This becomes important, for it later developed that appellant entered night law school at Temple University and took courses in the day law school that required his attendance in class on Tuesday from 12:00 to 12:45, and Thursday from 10:00 to 10:45. Not only did he not reveal this to his superiors so that they would know that he was not available during the time that he was attending classes at night and was not on duty on Thursday from 10:00 to 10:45, but, in fact, he attempted to base a refusal to attend an instructional conference set up by the Board of Probation and Parole on the grounds that it would interfere with his compulsory attendance in law school!
On November 1, 1971, the District Supervisor of appellant's office issued a directive that appellant, along with others, should attend a 5-day Group Interaction
Training Session in Harrisburg, starting on November 8, 1971. Appellant declined to attend and, after an interview and as requested, submitted a memorandum of his reasons which is here quoted in full:
"Pursuant to our discussion this morning during which you declined to consider changing the scheduled date of my attendance at the training session and requested in writing my views on the matter, the following is herewith submitted:
"This agent is an evening student at Temple University Law School and wishes to note that rigid attendance at this institution as well as family commitment preclude attendance at the session ...