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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. MICHAEL TRACZ (10/13/83)

decided: October 13, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, INSURANCE DEPARTMENT, PETITIONER
v.
MICHAEL TRACZ, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in the case of Michael Tracz v. Department of Insurance, Appeal No. 3227.

COUNSEL

Hannah Leavitt, Assistant Counsel, with her Anthony A. Geyelin, Chief Counsel, for petitioner.

Joseph J. Dixon, 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 503]

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department (Department) appeals from an order of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) sustaining the appeal of Michael Tracz (Tracz). On June 2, 1981, the Commission issued an order overruling the furlough of Tracz from his position as Administrative Officer I, regular status. Tracz was employed as an Administrative Officer I (AOI) in the Department's Bureau of Administrative Services. The Commission found that the Department had furloughed Tracz in violation of the furlough procedures mandated by Section 802 of the Civil Service Act*fn1 (Act) and that the Department's action was discriminatory under 905.1 of the Act.*fn2

On or about August 4, 1980, the Director of the Bureau of Administrative Services prepared the Insurance Department's budget for fiscal year 1980-81. That budget was subsequently approved by the Governor's Budget Office. The summary of the budget indicated that the Department had a personnel funding deficit for the 1980-81 fiscal year. As a result,

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 504]

    the Department was forced to make reductions in its work force.

On August 20, 1980, the Department notified Tracz that, due to the deficit in the Department's personnel funding, his position would be abolished and he would be furloughed, effective September 24, 1980. By a letter dated September 9, 1980, Tracz informed the Commission that he wished to appeal his permanent furlough. Subsequently, on September 19, 1980, Tracz filed his appeal to the Commission, asserting that the furlough action was discriminatory. Accordingly, he requested a hearing pursuant to Section 951(b) of the Act, 71 P.S. § 741.951(b).*fn3 On November 18, 1980, the Commission conducted a public hearing. At the outset, Tracz was permitted to amend the grounds for his appeal to include an allegation that Section 802 of the Act was violated. Hence, the latter ground for appeal was heard pursuant to Section 951(a) of the Act, 71 P.S. § 741.951(a).*fn4

On the basis of the evidence adduced at the November 18, 1980 hearing, the Commission found that the Department had a deficit of approximately $259,000.00,

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 505]

    which could be decreased by $212,000.00 through the attrition of approximately sixteen positions. The remaining deficit of $47,000.00 could be absorbed by eliminating five positions, which action the Department determined could be accomplished by eliminating one position in each of the Department's five major program areas. The position selected for elimination within the Bureau of Administrative Services was Tracz'. At the time of Tracz' furlough, the Department employed three ...


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