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JAMES L. MARVEL v. THOMAS G. DALRYMPLE (10/11/78)

decided: October 11, 1978.

JAMES L. MARVEL
v.
THOMAS G. DALRYMPLE, ROBERT J. DIJOSEPH AND JAMES A. DROBILE, COMPRISING THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION OF RADNOR TOWNSHIP (2 CASES)



Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County in case of James L. Marvel v. Thomas G. Dalrymple, Robert J. DiJoseph, James A. Drobile, comprising the Civil Service Commission of Radnor Township, No. 11308 of 1974.

COUNSEL

John M. Gallagher, Jr., with him Richard, Brian, DiSanti & Hamilton, for James L. Marvel.

Eugene H. Evans, with him Goldberg and Evans, for Radnor Township Civil Service Commission.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Bowman.

Author: Bowman

[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 69]

An order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County directing the Civil Service Commission of Radnor Township (Commission) to make certain records available to appellant, James L. Marvel, is the basis of this appeal.

In March, 1974, Marvel, a Radnor Township police officer, undertook a promotional examination for the rank of sergeant. The examination was a four-part test consisting of (1) a written examination; (2) an oral examination before members of the Commission and a guest; (3) a review of service ratings by superior officers; and (4) a review of appellant's past experience, training and education. Subsequent to the examination, appellant was notified of his score but was not apprised of the passing grade, the number of persons passing the test, or his relative ranking. Because he suspected irregularities in the administration and grading of the examination, appellant petitioned the Commission for permission to review the grades of each examinee in each of the four components of the examination and all papers comprising each component.

Permission was denied ostensibly because that information was deemed to be confidential. Appellant then appealed to the lower court which found that several of the documents sought were indeed "public records" within the meaning of the so-called "Right-To-Know Act"*fn1 (Act), but that certain of those documents were excepted from the provisions mandating

[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 70]

    disclosure. The court denied appellant access to rating sheets completed by the Commission, evaluations by superiors prepared during the course of the promotional examination, and physical reports on the fitness of each applicant for promotion, reasoning that those documents were within the category of records which would be intrinsically harmful to the reputation or personal security of the participants in the examination, namely, other applicants, the superior officers and the Commission members. The court concluded by ordering that only the following documents be made available to appellant:

1. A copy of the examination booklet used in the examination.

2. Appellant's own written examination answer paper.

3. The written examination answer papers of all ...


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