Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in case of Appeal of Violet C. Eash, No. 1510.
Michael F. Kraemer, with him Astor & Weiss, for appellant.
Barnet Lieberman, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Shirley Rae Don, Assistant Attorney General, for intervening appellee.
Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr. and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson.
[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 200]
The parties are in agreement on the essential facts of this case. Appellant, Violet C. Eash, was employed as a Rehabilitation Counselor II by the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Labor and Industry (appointing
[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 201]
authority). In March of 1972, appellant requested a leave without pay for educational purposes. In response to this request, appellant received a letter dated March 27, 1972, from the Personnel and Training Officer of the appointing authority granting the leave and further stating: ". . . . If a position is not available when your leave terminates, the State Civil Service Commission will place your name on a preferred list for one year. This entitles you to the first position we fill in your organizational unit and classification during this period." This interpretation was in accord with the then existing policy of the Civil Service Commission. On December 11, 1972, appellant advised the appointing authority of her desire to return to work, and subsequently was informed that no vacancy existed in the classification of Rehabilitation Counselor II at the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Center in Johnstown, the organizational unit at which she had been employed prior to her leave.
Appellant was thereafter placed on a limited preferred list for employment at the Johnstown Center for one year. During that year, 28 Rehabilitation Counselor II vacancies were filled throughout the State. None of these vacancies occurred at the Johnstown Center, and none of the vacant positions were offered to appellant.
On January 8, 1974, appellant properly appealed to the State Civil Service Commission the failure of the appointing authority to offer her reemployment. This appeal was dismissed by the Commission on the grounds that the right of return following educational leave was limited to the organizational unit from which the leave had been taken. Appellant then requested that the Commission reconsider its denial. Following a hearing, the Commission, on May 16, 1974, issued an adjudication and order in which it acknowledged that the Commission "policy" of limiting the right of return to the organizational unit from which the leave was taken was contrary to the language of the statute granting right of return.
[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 202]
The Commission further found that appellant should have State-wide preferential rights of employment for one additional year; and that appellant, by her "inaction after each vacancy," had waived here rights to any back ...