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JOSEPH J. BONDI v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/12/83)

decided: October 12, 1983.

JOSEPH J. BONDI, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. JOSEPH L. SMITH, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. WILLIAM L. DIETRICH, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. GERALD D. JEANNETTE, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Orders of the State Civil Service Commission in the cases of Joseph J. Bondi v. Department of Transportation, Appeal No. 2853; William L. Dietrich v. Department of Transportation, Appeal No. 2854; Gerald D. Jeannette v. Department of Transportation, Appeal No. 2856; and Joseph L. Smith v. Department of Transportation, Appeal No. 2857.

COUNSEL

Jay D. Glasser, Hollinshead and Mendelson, with him T. Lawrence Palmer, for petitioners.

Michael McCarey, with him Mark Hodgeman, Louis G. Cocheres, Assistant Attorney General, and Ward T. Williams, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

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

Author: Williams

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 477]

This is a consolidated appeal of four former, regular status Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT) employes (Petitioners) from Civil Service Commission (Commission) orders sustaining their furloughs under the Civil Service Act (Act).*fn1

By memorandum dated July 1, 1977, the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) notified District Engineers and Bureau Directors of the cancellation of DOT's federally, and state bond, financed twelve year

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 478]

    highway construction and maintenance program (12-year program). The 12-year program was discontinued as result of the Secretary's decision to cease state bond financing, because of the Legislature's failure to allocate revenue sufficient to fund properly DOT's other projects. Petitioners were furloughed November 8, 1978, as a consequence of the 12-year program's cancellation. This consolidated appeal from the Commission's orders upholding the furloughs followed.

Section 704 of the Administrative Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. § 704, requires this Court to affirm Commission adjudications unless constitutional rights are violated, errors of law are committed or necessary findings of fact are not supported by substantial evidence. Forbes v. PennDOT, 61 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 641, 643, 434 A.2d 892, 894 (1981).

"Furlough" is defined as "a termination of employment because of lack of funds or work." Section 741.3(s) of the Act, 71 P.S. § 741.3(s). DOT, as the Appointing Authority, is burdened with proving a prima facie case justifying Petitioners' furloughs. 4 Pa. Code § 105.15. DOT has successfully met this burden.

Petitioners assert first that, contrary to the Commission's findings and absent legislatively mandated funding reductions, their furloughs resulted not from a funding shortfall, but from the 12-year program's cancellation because of the Secretary's arbitrary decision to discontinue bond financing.

The Secretary's memorandum of July 1, 1977, and the uncontroverted testimony of DOT's Deputy Secretary for Highway Administration and Executive Assistant to the Secretary establish that the program's bond financing was terminated upon the Legislature's failure to enact new taxes necessary to satisfy DOT's additional funding requirements. The monies therefore saved ...


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