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CHARLES A. HAINES v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/24/81)

decided: April 24, 1981.

CHARLES A. HAINES, JR., PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in case of State Civil Service Commission v. Charles A. Haines, Jr., Appeal No. 2785.

COUNSEL

Lester H. Zimmerman, Jr., Barron & Zimmerman, for petitioner.

Earl R. Dryer, Assistant Attorney General, with him Barbara G. Raup, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Mencer, Rogers, Blatt, Craig, MacPhail and Palladino. Judges Wilkinson, Jr. and Williams, Jr. did not participate. Opinion by Judge Blatt. Judge Wilkinson, Jr. did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Blatt

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 641]

The petitioner, Charles A. Haines, Jr., appeals from a decision of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) which dismissed him from his position as a probationary employee because of his political activity.

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 642]

The petitioner was appointed on January 27, 1979 to a probationary civil service position as a Public Service Trainee in the Department of Public Welfare. On March 6, 1979, he filed a nomination petition seeking the Republican nomination for the office of Snyder County Commissioner. Upon being informed of this action, the Commission conducted an evidentiary hearing, concluded that the petitioner's filing of such a nomination petition violated the proscription against political activity by employees in the classified service contained in Section 904 of the Civil Service Act (Act), Act of August 5, 1941, P.L. 752, as amended, 71 P.S. § 741.904,*fn1 and removed the petitioner from his

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 643]

    position as required by Section 906 of the Act, 71 P.S. § 741.906.*fn2

The petitioner contends that a probationary employee, such as himself, is not within the classified service and that his position was, therefore, not subject to the Section 904 restrictions against political activities. He supports this assertion by arguing (1) that he never received notice that a probationary employee was subject to the prohibitions of Section 904, (2) that the statutory language evidences a legislative intent to exclude probationary employees from inclusion in the classified service and (3) that Section 603 of the Act, 71 P.S. § 741.603, which concerns removal of probationary employees, is penal in nature

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 644]

    and that, inasmuch as that section contains no reference to Section 904, Section 603 must be construed in the petitioner's favor to exclude political activity as a cause for removal. Alternatively, he poses constitutional challenges to the Act, claiming (1) that Section 904 is unconstitutionally vague and (2) that the Act violates the equal protection clause by imposing distinctions between ...


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