Appeals from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in the case of Clarice W. Omelchenko v. Lebanon County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Appeal No. 2684.
Timothy D. Sheffey, Egli, Reilly, Wolfson & Feeman, for Clarice W. Omelchenko.
Jeffrey A. Keiter, Keiter and Farrell, for Housing Authority of the County of Lebanon.
Judges Mencer, Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers. This decision was reached prior to the expiration of the term of office of Judge Wilkinson. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 495]
These cases are an appeal and a cross appeal from an order of the Civil Service Commission which ordered that Clarice W. Omelchenko be reinstated without back pay to her position with the Housing Authority of the County of Lebanon (Authority). The Authority has appealed that portion of the order requiring reinstatement while Ms. Omelchenko has appealed the Commission's denial of back pay.
Ms. Omelchenko, the Director of Tenant Relations for the Authority, was removed from her position on charges of habitual lateness in the submission of her time sheets and those of other employees of the Housing Authority; failure to submit monthly reports to the Board of Directors on schedule; failure to submit weekly activity reports; and with having lost the confidence of the Housing Authority's constituents, its tenants. After hearing, a majority of the Civil Service Commission (Chairman McCarthy dissented) found as facts that Ms. Omelchenko: "was frequently late with her monthly time sheets", "was late with reports to the Board in January 1978 and September 1978", "failed to turn in CETA time sheets in a timely manner: and although "requested to submit a weekly report of her activities [but] did not submit the weekly report, but kept notes which she could
[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 496]
not find time to type". The Commission also found that the "appellant admitted her reports were late" and that the "ill will [of the tenants] was engendered by an account of a meeting which appeared in a news-letter edited by appellant".
Clearly each of the charges and each of the findings of the Commission supporting the charges relates to the merits of Ms. Omelchenko's performance of her duties as Director of Tenant Relations. The charges and the findings therefore demonstrate that the Housing Authority had just cause for removing Ms. Omelchenko, as it alone is empowered to do by Section 807(a) of the Civil Service Act, Act of August 5, 1941, P.L. 752, as amended, 71 P.S. § 741.807.
The majority of the Commission, despite its findings just described and despite conceding in its adjudication that "appellant was not without fault" and had demonstrated "laxity", ordered her reinstatement either, as we understand the adjudication, because it thought the Housing Authority was unduly influenced by its tenants' poor opinion of Ms. Omelchenko's performance*fn1 or because it believed that the
[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 497]
Housing Authority took too serious a view of Ms. ...