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WALTER T. VEERASINGHAM v. RONALD SHARP (08/27/81)

decided: August 27, 1981.

WALTER T. VEERASINGHAM, PLAINTIFF
v.
RONALD SHARP, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE JUVENILE COURT JUDGES' COMMISSION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA AND EDWARD G. BIESTER, JR., ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEFENDANTS



Original jurisdiction in the case of Walter T. Veerasingham v. Ronald Sharp, individually and as the Executive Director of the Juvenile Court Judges' Commission of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

COUNSEL

George M. Schroeder, with him, Lawrence L. Kinter, Hanes, Lucht, Kinter & Williams, and Walter T. Veerasingham, for plaintiff.

Kathleen F. McGrath, Deputy Attorney General, with her, Allan C. Warshaw, Deputy Attorney General, and Herbert L. Olivieri, for defendants.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Rogers and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 461]

Walter T. Veerasingham (plaintiff) seeks to invoke the original jurisdiction of this Court, in an equity action against two Commonwealth defendants: the Attorney General,*fn1 and the Executive Director of the Juvenile Court Judges' Commission (Commission) of the Department of Justice.

The plaintiff was employed by the Commission as a legal consultant from approximately February, 1975 until the end of March, 1978. In that position,

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 462]

    he had civil service status in the Department of Justice. On approximately March 25, 1978, the plaintiff received a letter notifying him that he was being separated from his position with the Commission on the grounds of "abandonment of position." The letter of termination was issued by the Attorney General, based on information supplied to the Attorney General by Ronald Sharp, who is the defendant-Executive Director of the Commission. Defendant Sharp was the plaintiff's immediate supervisor at the Commission.

Apparently, the plaintiff's dismissal resulted from inaccurate reports by Sharp to the Attorney General relating to an absence from work by the plaintiff in early March, 1978. Although plaintiff was terminated in the manner above stated, the misunderstanding which caused his dismissal was subsequently resolved through a grievance procedure instituted by the plaintiff's union, the Pennsylvania Social Services Union (Union). As a result of the Union's intervention, the plaintiff was offered reemployment with the Commission in his former position, with back pay and benefits, in August, 1978. The plaintiff, however, had executed a one-year contract of employment with another employer in July, 1978; and his obligation under that contract constrained him to refuse the proffered reinstatement.

By letter dated August 30, 1978, the Union advised the plaintiff that a decision by him not to return to his position with the Commission would result in the Union taking no further action in the matter of his grievance. The plaintiff so decided, and the Union's role in the dispute concluded. It was, and remains, the Union's position that its goal throughout its representation of the plaintiff was to secure his reinstatement with back pay and benefits. Having achieved its stated aim, the Union felt it had pursued

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 463]

    plaintiff's grievance to a proper conclusion. It is the plaintiff's position that the Union should have submitted his grievance to arbitration regardless of ...


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