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AGNES H. LEWIS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/14/81)

decided: December 14, 1981.

AGNES H. LEWIS, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in case of Agnes H. Lewis v. Department of Health, Appeal No. 2764.

COUNSEL

Robert W. Barton, Killian & Gephart, for petitioner.

Christine S. Dutton, Assistant Counsel, for respondent, Department of Health.

Barbara G. Raup, Chief Counsel, for respondent, State Civil Service Commission.

Judges Blatt, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 149]

The petitioner, Agnes H. Lewis, appeals a decision of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) upholding an action of the Department of Health (Department) removing her from her position as District

[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 150]

Nurse Administrator and Public Health Nurse IV with regular civil service status. The removal was based on the charge that she falsely claimed hotel stays.

Because Ms. Lewis was a regular status civil service employee, her removal from the classified service is required to have been for "just cause" under Section 807 of the Civil Service Act (Act).*fn1 Upon removal, she became entitled to a hearing*fn2 before the Commission to determine whether or not just cause existed and, at such a hearing held on May 22, 1979, the Department alleged that on four separate instances*fn3 Lewis had allowed her supervisor, Robert J. Slocum, to use her state hotel orders for his personal use. On March 27, 1980, the Commission upheld her removal largely upon the basis of (1) the unlikely sequence of events testified to by her, and (2) upon an admission which she was alleged to have made to her secretary.

We have recognized that our scope of review of a just cause adjudication by the Commission, where, as here, the party with the burden of proof*fn4 has prevailed below, is limited to a determination of whether or not constitutional rights were violated, an error of law was committed, or a necessary finding of fact was unsupported by substantial evidence. D'amato v. Department of General Services, 58 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 489,

[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 151427]

A.2d 1287 (1981). Moreover, it is well settled that questions of credibility and the weight to be given conflicting*fn5 evidence are for the Commission, as ultimate factfinder, to decide and are not for this Court. We must, however, examine the record for the purpose of determining whether or not the Commission exercised reasonable discretion in rendering its decision. ...


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