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JOSEPH J. BLEILEVENS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/07/73)

decided: November 7, 1973.

JOSEPH J. BLEILEVENS, APPELLANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission, in case of Appeal of Joseph J. Bleilevens, No. 1377.

COUNSEL

Robert L. Webster, with him Webster & Hallal, for appellant.

Marx S. Leopold, Assistant Attorney General, with him Israel Packel, Attorney General, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 2]

Joseph J. Bleilevens here appeals from an adjudication of the State Civil Service Commission dismissing his appeal from the action by the Fayette County Board of Assistance of removing him from his position as Public Welfare Administrator V, regular status. Mr. Bleilevens' position with the Fayette County Board of Assistance, which he assumed in 1964, was better described by the name "Executive Director" by which his position was titled until the Department of Welfare

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 3]

    changed the names of many positions in the service shortly before the events here in suit.

As Executive Director or Administrator V, Mr. Bleilevens, under his board, was in general charge of the state's welfare programs in Fayette County. In addition to supervising the work of about 100 employes, he was required to form judgments upon and to interpret for his staff and the County Board the statutes and agency rules and regulations concerning the board's work. His responsibilities included that of recommending employes for promotion, in accordance with law and rules and regulations relating to the civil service. He was appointed to his position by the County Board and subject to removal therefrom by it. However, under the Civil Service Act of August 5, 1941, P.L. 752, Section 807, as amended, 71 P.S. § 741.807, he was not subject to removal "except for just cause."

The issue here is whether the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission's adjudication sustaining the County Board's action is supported by substantial evidence. The rules of the Civil Service Commission, 4 Pa. Code, Section 105.15(a), impose upon the appointing authority the duty to go forward in the establishment of the charges on which its personnel action is assertedly based and in so doing to establish a prima facie case in justification of that action. After a careful examination of the record we have concluded that the appointing authority did not support its charges against the appellant at the Civil Service Commission hearing, and that the Commission's adjudication sustaining the County Board's action is not supported by substantial evidence, as the Administrative Agency Law requires. Act of June 4, 1945, P.L. 1388, Section 44, as amended, 71 P.S. § 1710.44.

The reasons given Mr. Bleilevens for his removal were: administrative decisions displaying bad judgment; opposition to regional recommendations and Department

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 4]

    policy; failure to implement the Commonwealth Affirmative Action program; conduct unbecoming a state official; and insubordination. The Civil Service Commission's adjudication does not address itself to these reasons for dismissal in any ordered fashion. It contains numbered findings of fact followed by an unnumbered paragraph of fugitive and repetitive comments, some factual and others conclusory. Those important to be reproduced are:

"9. Appellant used poor judgment in the handling of the homemaker's case.

"10. Appellant used his own method of personnel procedure rather than one proposed by the Department.

"11. Appellant did not follow policy outlined by the Affirmative Action Program.

"12. Appellant opposed regional recommendations regarding transportation allotments.

"13. Appellant became involved in an automobile accident involving an employe ...


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