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JOHN E. HOFFMAN v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/06/83)

decided: April 6, 1983.

JOHN E. HOFFMAN, JR., PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in case of John E. Hoffman, Jr. v. Department of Health, Appeal No. 3247.

COUNSEL

Betty F. Perry, Killian & Gephart, for petitioner.

Stephen D. Tompkins, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

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

Author: Crumlish

[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 285]

John Hoffman appeals a State Civil Service Commission (Commission) order which upheld his removal by the Department of Health (Department) for just cause. We affirm.

Hoffman was employed as a Public Health Executive II and was appointed to the probationary position of Director of the Division of Hospitals in April of 1979. In August 1979 his supervisor recommended permanent status. In the Personal Evaluation Report, however, the supervisor noted certain of Hoffman's shortcomings:

He appears to have several shortcomings. . . .

He requires explicit directions to do what is asked, that is his grasp of the situation appears limited at times. I still do not know if he understands what I propose to do relative to his division's plans since I have not seen anything yet and they were due August 1.*fn1 His grasp of what his own personnel do within his division is limited. When asked a question about a function or a position he relies upon his subordinates for answers. . . . Reliance upon one's subordinates is important, but the final answer must be the director's.

R.R. pp. 211a-212a.

Although his supervisor then recommended Hoffman for a permanent position, she noted that this was based on her belief that his performance would improve. However, a subsequent series of supervisor memoranda indicated a growing concern and frustration with Hoffman's inability or unwillingness to conform to her requirements. Finally, by letter dated February 11, 1981, the Secretary of Health removed Hoffman from his position, writing:

[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 286]

It is my conclusion that because of your lack of judgment, lack of ability to make critical analyses, your lack of understanding of Division operations, and the subsequent need to excessively rely on your staff for decisions that you should make, and your inability or unwillingness to cooperate with Ms. ...


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