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DOROTHY S. WETZEL v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/06/83)

decided: September 6, 1983.

DOROTHY S. WETZEL, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in case of Dorothy S. Wetzel v. Elizabethtown Hospital for Children and Youth, Department of Health, Appeal No. 3559.

COUNSEL

Alaine S. Williams, with her Richard Kirschner, Kirschner, Walters, Willig, Weinberg & Dempsey, for petitioner.

Barbara G. Raup, Chief Counsel, with her Stephen Thompkins, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

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

Author: Macphail

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 48]

Dorothy S. Wetzel (Petitioner) appeals here from a decision of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) which sustained the personnel action taken by the Elizabethtown Hospital for Children and Youth Development, a facility operated by the Department of Health (Department).

Petitioner was classified as a Food Service Supervisor II, regular status. As a result of a classification audit performed during the spring of 1981, the Department notified her that she was improperly classified and that her correct classification for the work she was performing was a Food Service Supervisor I, regular status. Petitioner was informed that she had the option of being furloughed or being voluntarily demoted to the classification of Food Service Supervisor I while retaining her civil service status and the same salary she had received while classified as a Food Service Supervisor II. Under protest, Petitioner signed and submitted a request for voluntary demotion to the Food Service Supervisor I classification. By letter dated July 10, 1981, Petitioner was informed that the appointing authority had approved her request for voluntary demotion effective July 15, 1981.

The Petitioner appealed to the Commission contending that she had been unlawfully demoted. The Commission held, however, that Petitioner's request for demotion was truly voluntary, that such a request was cognizable under the provisions of the Civil Service

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 49]

Act (Act),*fn1 that Petitioner's reclassification was not a demotion within the meaning of that term as defined in the Act and that the Department acted properly in following the requirements of 4 Pa. Code ยง 99.42.*fn2 At the time relevant to this appeal Section 99.42 stated:

Reallocation to a lower class.

When a position is allocated to a class with a lower maximum rate of compensation, the regular or probationary incumbent of such position shall be reassigned or transferred, if possible, provided the incumbent does not elect to remain in the position through voluntary demotion. Otherwise, the provisions of the Civil Service Act and Section 101.1 of this Title (relating to furlough) shall apply.

Before the Commission and before this Court Petitioner contends that the Commission exceeded its authority under the Act by promulgating Commission regulation Section 99.42 since there is no provision in the Act authorizing demotions as a result of reclassification. Petitioner reasons that only two provisions of the Act deal with demotion -- Section 3(r)*fn3 which defines demotion as "a change [in status] to a ...


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