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EDWARD J. BEDESKI v. GREATER NANTICOKE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT (04/09/81)

decided: April 9, 1981.

EDWARD J. BEDESKI, APPELLANT
v.
GREATER NANTICOKE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County in case of Edward J. Bedeski v. Greater Nanticoke Area School District, No. 12263 of 1978.

COUNSEL

Joseph P. Giovannini, Jr., with him Sol Lubin, Winkler, Danoff & Lubin, for appellant.

Maurice A. Cardone, for appellee.

William Fearen, with him Michael I. Levin, Cleckner and Fearen, for Amicus Curiae Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

Judges Craig, MacPhail and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr. This decision was reached prior to the expiration of the term of office of Judge Wilkinson, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 401]

Edward Bedeski (appellant) appeals from an Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County. That court's Order dismissed the appellant's appeal from an adjudication by the Board of Directors of the Greater Nanticoke Area School District (School District), which removed him from his position as business manager of the School District.

The appellant was employed by the School District as its business manager from September, 1975 to May, 1978. By letter dated May 4, 1978, the School District informed him that it had voted to dismiss him from his position effective May 2, 1978. The appellant requested a schedule of the charges against him and a hearing on the matter. The School District responded through its counsel, by letter dated August 15, 1978, that appellant was being discharged because of neglect of duty, insubordination, and certain enumerated violations of the school laws of Pennsylvania. A second letter dated September 5, 1978, advised the appellant of a hearing scheduled for September 14, 1978, before the School District's Personnel Committee.

Appellant appeared at the September 14th hearing without counsel, and did not testify in his own behalf. After that hearing, he retained counsel. By letter dated November 15, 1978, his attorney requested an additional hearing, and demanded that the appellant be immediately reinstated with back pay. At

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 402]

    its meeting on December 8, 1978, the School District rejected the appellant's demands, and adopted findings of fact, reasons for adjudication, and an adjudication affirming appellant's dismissal.

Bedeski appealed this adjudication to the Court of Common Pleas. That court dismissed his appeal and this appeal followed.

The issue before this court for review is: whether the appellant was an appointed public officer, subject to being discharged summarily by the power which appointed him as provided by Article VI, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution;*fn1 or whether he was an employee of a public agency who could be terminated only for cause, and whose dismissal had to conform to the procedural mandates of Section 514 of the Public School Code of 1949,*fn2 and the relevant provisions of the Local Agency Law.*fn3 The court below held that the School District properly concluded that the ...


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