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JOHN E. COVENTRY AND INDEPENDENT STATE STORE UNION v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/28/84)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: March 28, 1984.

JOHN E. COVENTRY AND INDEPENDENT STATE STORE UNION, PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD, RESPONDENT. JOHN J. SOKOLOWSKI, JR. AND INDEPENDENT STATE STORE UNION, PETITIONERS V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD, RESPONDENT

Appeals from the Orders of the State Civil Service Commission in the case of John Coventry v. Liquor Control Board, Appeal No. 4168, and in the case of John J. Sokolowski, Jr. v. Liquor Control Board, Appeal No. 4225.

COUNSEL

John D. Killian, Killian & Gephart, for petitioners.

Gary F. DiVito, with him Patrick M. McHugh, Deputy Chief Counsel, and Earl L. Dryer, Deputy Counsel, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge Doyle dissents.

Author: Crumlish

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 233]

Sokolowski and Coventry appeal Civil Service Commission's order denying a hearing on wage deductions. We affirm.*fn1

Sokolowski, employed as a Liquor Store General Manager 1-B, and Coventry, employed as a Liquor Store Manager III, experienced unexplained cash shortages in handling deposits of state store receipts at their respective stores. A $20.00 cash deposit error occurred at Sokolowski's store and a $40.00 cash shortage occurred at Coventry's store. In both instances, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board conducted internal investigations and determined that the managers were responsible for the losses. The Board deducted $19.80 from Sokolowski's regular pay and $39.80 from Coventry's regular pay.

Following the salary deductions, Sokolowski and Coventry filed grievances through their union representative, alleging lack of just cause for the action. The grievances were denied.*fn2 The Commission subsequently held that a pay reduction is not an appealable

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 234]

    personnel action under the Civil Service Act and Rules.*fn3 The scope of an employee's right to appeal actions of his employer is circumscribed by the Civil Service Act which has created it. See Sterling v. Department of Environmental Resources, Pa. ,

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 235470]

A.2d 101 (1983).*fn4 The Commission properly determined that a pay reduction is not an appealable personnel action under the Civil Service Act and Rules.

The Liquor Control Board's authority to deduct unexplained cash shortages from store manager's pay emanates from the State Stores Manual of Instructions*fn5 and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Board and the Independent State Store Union.*fn6 The record reveals the Board's Audit Division conducted a thorough investigation and determined that Sokolowski and Coventry were responsible for the cash shortages. The Board clearly has the authority to discipline the managers accordingly.

Affirmed.

Order

The order of the State Civil Service Commission, No. 4225 dated November 5, 1982, is hereby affirmed.

Amending Order

Now, April 17, 1984, this Court's Order in the above-captioned case, dated March 28, 1984, is amended to read as follows:

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 236]

The orders of the State Civil Service Commission, No. 4168 dated September 30, 1982 and No. 4225 dated November 5, 1982, are hereby affirmed.

Judge Doyle dissents.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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