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EUGENE SAUERS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (08/23/83)

decided: August 23, 1983.

EUGENE SAUERS, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, BUCKS COUNTY BOARD OF ASSISTANCE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in the case of Eugene J. Sauers v. Bucks County Board of Assistance, Department of Public Welfare, Appeal No. 3617.

COUNSEL

Clyde W. Waite, Stief, Luber, Waite, Gross & Sagoskin, for petitioner.

Phillip B. Rosenthal, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

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

Author: Rogers

[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 505]

Eugene Sauers, a regular status member of the Commonwealth's classified service attached to the Bucks County Board of Assistance an administrative adjunct of the Department of Public Welfare, has filed a petition for review of the State Civil Service Commission's dismissal of his appeal from a performance evaluation report made by his supervisor, the Executive Director of the County Board of Assistance.

Sauers, whose position in the service was that of Income Maintenance Manager, was the person in charge of one of the two district welfare offices maintained by the Bucks County Board of Assistance. The chief executive officer and administrator of the County Board from 1975 onward was its Executive Director, Louis Rublin. For several years before April, 1980, Sauers was directly supervised by one Marilyn Alexander who gave him excellent ratings. These ratings were reviewed by Rublin without notable comment except in the instance of the last evaluation prepared by Alexander in May, 1981, concerning which Rublin as a reviewer noted that he was not necessarily in agreement with the excellent report.

Sauers came under the direct supervision of Executive Director Rublin in early 1981. In July, 1981, Rublin made an annual evaluation of Sauers' work performance covering the period August 1, 1980 through July 10, 1981. Rublin gave Sauers very good or good ratings as to the quality of his work, his dependability, his initiative, his handling of individual cases and for the results of the operations of his office. He gave Sauers fair ratings on the quality of his work, his relationships with people, his analytical ability, and his ability as a supervisor. Rublin's overall evaluation of Sauers' performance was high fair. Rublin attached to the evaluation nine pages, single spaced, describing instances of inadequate performance of duty

[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 506]

    by Sauers with reference to the specific qualities required to be evaluated and making suggestions for improvement.

At this point, it seems necessary again to review the provisions of the Civil Service Act*fn1 relating to appeals of public employees to the State Civil Service Commission from personnel actions by their appointing authorities. Section 951(a), 71 P.S. § 741.951(a) gives a regular employee the right to appeal a permanent separation, a suspension for a cause, a furlough or a demotion on the ground that the action was taken in violation of the Act; that is, without good or just cause, in the case of separation and suspension (Sections 807 or 803), improperly ordered in the case of furlough (Section 802), or not founded on unsatisfactory performance in the case of demotion (Section 706). Because the personnel action Sauers complains of is a performance evaluation, not a separation, suspension, furlough or demotion, he was not entitled to appeal under Section 905(a) and obtain a full review of the propriety of the evaluation.

Section 905.1 of the Act, 71 P.S. § 741.905a provides that no Commonwealth officer or employee shall discriminate against any person in any personnel action with respect to the classified service "because of political or religious opinions or affiliations because of labor union affiliations or because of race, national origin or other non-merit factors" and Section 951(b), 71 P.S. § 741.951(b), gives persons who allege violations of Section 905.1 -- that is, that an officer or employee has discriminated against him because of his political or religious ...


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