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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. EUGENE H. STECHER (05/03/83)

decided: May 3, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, PETITIONER
v.
EUGENE H. STECHER, LEROY N. CRAIG, CLAYTON O. SCOTT AND THEODORE J. CHARNEY, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Orders of the Civil Service Commission in cases of Clayton O. Scott v. Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, Department of State, Appeal No. 3163; Eugene H. Stecher v. Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, Department of State, Appeal No. 3164; Leroy N. Craig v. Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, Department of State, Appeal No. 3210, and Theodore J. Charney v. Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, Department of State, Appeal No. 3211.

COUNSEL

Edward D. Frank, with him James J. Kutz, Assistant Counsel, David F. Phifer, Chief Counsel and Jay D. Waldman, General Counsel, for petitioner.

Thomas B. Schmidt, III, with him Fred Speaker, Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, for respondents.

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

Author: Macphail

[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 47]

Petitioner, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of State (Appointing Authority), by way of a consolidated petition for review, appeals four orders of the Civil Service Commission (Commission) which reinstated the Respondents*fn1 following a furlough.

Respondents Charney, Stecher and Craig were furloughed*fn2 from their positions with the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (Bureau) on the basis of lack of funds and lack of work. Respondent Scott, however, was furloughed only on the basis of lack of work. The Appointing Authority has stipulated that the State Board of Medical Education and Licensure (Medical Board), where Scott was employed, is self-funded, rather than funded directly from the Bureau's appropriation. It further stipulated that no lack of funds existed at the Medical Board and therefore lack of funds was not a basis for Scott's furlough.

The lack of funds which caused the furlough of Respondents Charney, Stecher and Craig was caused by overspending by the Bureau in prior years, which resulted

[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 48]

    in the carry over of an accumulated deficit. Early in July of 1980, the Bureau was aware of its fiscal problems. By memorandum, on July 21, 1980, the Appointing Authority informed the Office of Budget and Administration of its intention to implement a furlough to bring the Bureau within its funding limitations. The Commission found that the memorandum further stated that a furlough could result in serious cuts to services which the Bureau was "perhaps" legally obligated to perform.

On July 25, 1980, the Appointing Authority notified Respondents by letter that they would be furloughed effective August 27, 1980. To effectuate this furlough the Bureau underwent a reorganization of duties. The duties previously performed by Respondents were assigned to the Board's Secretaries, agency counsel, and Bureau Commissioners.

The Respondents appealed*fn3 the Bureau's furlough action to the Commission. An administrative hearing was held on October 8, 1980. By order of August 28, 1981, the Commission ruled that Respondents be reinstated. The Commission found that the asserted lack of work was totally due to a lack of funds and that this lack of funds was cured by a special supplemental appropriation bill for $378,000*fn4 (Act 135A). The Secretary of Budget and Administration, after being apprised by the Bureau of its fiscal problems, recommended to the state legislature that such supplemental funds be appropriated "to restore an adequate level of support to the various boards." On ...


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