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WALLACE G. JOHNSON v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/12/83)

decided: October 12, 1983.

WALLACE G. JOHNSON, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. ROSAURO C. PALILEO, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. WILLIAM M. BUCK, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. LISLE E. WILLIAMS, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. ROBERT J. SOMMER, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. FRANK G. CICCARELLI, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. JOHN B. SULLIVAN, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. NORMA MATISZ, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. SAMUEL LIVINGSTON, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. ROBERT S. NIEDZIELKA, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. RICHARD D. PONZETTO, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. EDWIN A. KIST, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. VICTOR RECK, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. RONALD WALKER, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. ROBERT IVILL, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. CHARLES MILLER, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT. MARTIN L. NEAMAN, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Orders of the State Civil Service Commission in the cases of Wallace G. Johnson, Appeal No. 2641; Rosauro C. Palileo, Appeal No. 2645; William M. Buck, Appeal No. 2639; Lisle E. Williams, Appeal No. 2638; Robert J. Sommer, Appeal No. 2648; Frank D. Cicarelli, Appeal No. 2661; John V. Sullivan, Appeal No. 2649; Norma Matisz, Appeal No. 2642; Samuel Livingston, Appeal No. 2637; Robert S. Niedzielka, Appeal No. 2644; Richard D. Ponzetto, Appeal No. 2646; Edwin A. Kist, Appeal No. 2657; Victor Reck, Appeal No. 2647; Ronald Walker, Appeal No. 2650; Robert Ivill, Appeal No. 2640; Charles Miller, Appeal No. 2643, and Martin L. Neaman, Appeal No. 2658.

COUNSEL

T. Lawrence Palmer, McArdle, Caroselli, Spagnolli & Beachler, with him Jay D. Glasser, Hollinshead and Mendelson, for petitioners.

Michael McCarey, with him Mark Hodgeman, Assistant Counsel, Ward T. Williams, Chief Counsel, and Jay C. Waldman, General 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 488]

This is the consolidated appeal of seventeen furloughed or demoted regular status Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT) employes (Petitioners)

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 489]

    from Civil Service Commission (Commission) orders sustaining their furloughs, or demotions in lieu of furloughs, as proper 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 highway construction and maintenance program (12-year program). The 12-year program was discontinued as a result of a decision of the Secretary to terminate future state bond financing because of DOT's inability to afford the increasing debt service. Following personnel studies and modifications in personnel requirements to reflect the 12-year program's cancellation, petitioners were among those either furloughed or demoted in lieu of furlough, effective June 30, 1978. This consolidated appeal from the Commission's orders upholding the adverse personnel actions 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).

A "furlough" is defined by Section 3(s) of the Act, 71 P.S. § 741.3(s), as "a termination of employment because of lack of funds or work." Further, DOT, as the Appointing Authority, has the burden of proving

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 490]

    a prima facie case justifying Petitioners' furloughs. 4 Pa. Code § 105.15; Department of State v. Stecher, 74 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 45, 47, 459 A.2d 851, 854 ...


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