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DR. RUTH HEPPEL v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/31/74)

decided: December 31, 1974.

DR. RUTH HEPPEL, APPELLANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in case of Appeal of Dr. Ruth Heppel, No. 1470.

COUNSEL

Arthur L. Goldberg, with him Paul L. Zeigler and Goldberg, Evans & Katzman, for appellant.

Edward A. Miller, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 80]

The sole issue here is whether findings of the State Civil Service Commission that the removal as of September 3, 1973 of the appellant, Dr. Ruth Heppel, from her position of Higher Education Associate II in the Commonwealth's Department of Education was for just cause*fn1 and was not an act of discrimination*fn2 are supported by substantial evidence in the record.

The causes for Dr. Heppel's removal asserted by the appointing authority and found by the Commission to have been proved were her failure to complete work assignments within the time necessary for the Department to carry on its work, her failure to report for work during the hours prescribed by the Secretary of Education, and her removal, without permission, of material from a personnel file maintained by her supervisors.

Judge Crumlish described our duty in this class of case in Ricker v. Civil Service Commission, 7 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 329, 332, 300 A.2d 293, 295 (1973):

"On appeal to this Court, an adjudication of the State Civil Service Commission shall be affirmed unless it appears that such was not in accordance with law, that any finding of fact necessary to support such

[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 81]

    adjudication is not supported by the evidence or that the constitutional rights of the appellant have been violated. Department of Transportation v. State Civil Service Commission, 5 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 263, 290 A.2d 434 (1972). It is the duty of the State Civil Service Commission to determine the credibility of witnesses, appearing before the Commission and to determine the value of their testimony. Mettee v. Civil Service Commission, 6 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 82, 293 A.2d 147 (1972). This Court will not weigh, but only examine, the evidence and will not substitute its judgment for that of the Commission. Gibbs v. State Civil Service Commission, 3 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 230, 281 A.2d 170 (1971)."

Dr. Heppel was engaged by the Department of Education in January of 1970 and assigned to the division of teacher education. Her duties included that of acting as chairperson of teams of professional educators sent to colleges to evaluate programs leading to teacher certification. The chairperson's responsibilities consisted of visiting campuses with other team members, receiving the oral and written impressions of other team members, preparing a report for approval and comment of other members, adjusting the report as necessary, forwarding the report to the institution being examined, receiving the examinee's corrections and comments and finally approving or disapproving the program being examined. The time within which the Department of Education desired the whole process, from campus visit to final action of approval or disapproval, was 90 days, with an additional 15 days where the institution interposed substantial objections to the chairperson's report. After the first few assignments, ...


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