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GEORGE FORD v. SCHOOL DISTRICT PHILADELPHIA (12/23/82)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: December 23, 1982.

GEORGE FORD, APPELLANT
v.
SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA, APPELLEE

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia in case of George Ford v. School District of Philadelphia, No. 5372 June Term, 1979.

COUNSEL

Paul Auerbach, for appellant.

Eugene F. Brazil, General Counsel, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Blatt and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge Mencer did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Crumlish

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 510]

George Ford appeals a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas order affirming his thirty-day suspension and seven-grade demotion by the Philadelphia School District. We affirm.

Our scope of review is limited by Section 8 of the Local Agency Law*fn1 which requires us, when there is a complete record of the proceedings before the school board, to affirm the adjudication unless constitutional rights have been violated, an error of law has been committed, or a finding of fact is not supported by substantial evidence.

Ford, a non-professional custodial supervisor, contends: (1) the proceedings before the School District violated his procedural due process; (2) the hearing officer's findings of fact lacked specificity; and (3) he was entitled to a "peer review" under his union contract.

An extensive review of the record indicates that Ford's disciplinary proceedings included the following:

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 5111]

. Disciplinary charges*fn2 were brought against Ford on two separate occasions: Each time, Ford had a hearing before the Director of Non-Instructional Personnel. Ford was suspended for two days without any status change for the first offense.*fn3 For his second offense, the Director suspended Ford for thirty days and demoted him to a non-supervisory position.

2. On appeal to the Board of Education, a hearing officer conducted twelve hearings over a two-year period, resulting in over 1,300 pages of testimony and forty exhibits. The hearing officer recommended that the Director's decision be upheld.

3. Before making its adjudication, the Board of Education heard argument form Ford. The Board affirmed the recommendation of its hearing officer.

4. The Court of Common Pleas, after argument and review of the record, affirmed the School Board's adjudication.

It is evident that the procedural due process afforded Ford was more than adequate.

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 512]

A review of the record also indicates that the hearing officer's findings of fact and recommendations were specific enough to inform Ford of the reasons for his suspension and demotion. We also conclude that the findings are supported by substantial evidence and that the lower court properly denied Ford's request for a remand. Springfield School District v. Page 512} Shellem, 16 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 306, 328 A.2d 535 (1974).

Finally, in that Ford's contention that he is entitled to a "peer review" under his union contract is, in essence, an attack on the propriety of his union's representation, we conclude that such contention is improperly raised in this appeal.*fn4 Ford's remedy for this allegation lies with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board. Failure of a union to represent the interests of all its members in good faith and without discrimination is an unfair labor practice under Section 1201(b)(3) of the Public Employes Relations Act,*fn5 over which the Labor Relations Board has exclusive jurisdiction. Pronko v. Commonwealth, 44 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 541, 403 A.2d 1382 (1979).

We affirm the lower court's decision upholding Ford's suspension and demotion.

Affirmed.

Order

The Philadelphia County Common Pleas Court order, No. 5372 June Term 1979, dated March 17, 1981, is hereby affirmed.

Judge Mencer did not participate in the decision in this case.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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