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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. GERALD O. WIBLE (06/06/83)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: June 6, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, PETITIONER
v.
GERALD O. WIBLE, RESPONDENT

Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in the case of Gerald O. Wible v. Department of Transportation, Appeal No. 3253.

COUNSEL

Michael J. McCanery, Jr., with him Mark Hodgeman, Assistant Counsel, Ward T. Williams, Chief Counsel, and Jay C. Waldman, General Counsel, for petitioner.

Charles W. Johnston, Handler and Gerber, P.C., for respondent.

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

Author: Crumlish

[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 621]

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) appeals a State Civil Service Commission (Commission) decision ordering the promotion of Gerald O. Wible. We affirm.

Wible was employed by D.O.T. as a Civil Engineer III, regular status.*fn1 His job, Assistant Maintenance Engineer, was upgraded from Civil Engineer III to Civil Engineer IV.*fn2 He sought promotion to one of two vancancies as Civil Engineer IV, and received recommendations from his immediate supervisor and the District Engineer. One vacancy was filled. Dan Mays, who lacked the required qualifications for Civil Engineer IV, was given a similar non-civil service position,*fn3 with the proviso that he would be promoted to Civil Engineer IV when he qualified. The Commission concluded that was a device calculated to favor Mays over Wible. Wible was in all respects qualified for the promotion.

[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 622]

The purpose of the Civil Service Act*fn4 is to achieve "greater efficiency and economy in the administration of the government of this Commonwealth. . . ."*fn5 It calls for the "establishment of conditions of service which will attract to the service of the Commonwealth qualified persons of character and ability and their appointment and promotion on the basis of merit and fitness. . . ."*fn6

In cases where we have considered possible discrimination in the promotion process, our Court, in Lynch v. Department of Public Welfare, 30 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 235, 240, 373 A.2d 469, 472 (1977), stated:

In matters of promotion, the issue of discrimination is inextricably tied to the question of qualifications. If, of several applicants for a position, the appointing authority chooses someone other than the best qualified person, the inference is strong, if not irrestible that he was motivated by some non-merit factor.

The Commission found that Mays was unqualified for the position, concluding that it was a non-merit selection. An adjudication of the Commission must be affirmed unless it is not supported by substantial evidence.*fn7 The record in this case supports its findings.

Affirmed.

Order

The order of the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission, Appeal No. 3253 dated November 24, 1981, is hereby affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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