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JODI R. SALVATI v. BERKS COUNTY BOARD ASSISTANCE (04/23/84)

decided: April 23, 1984.

JODI R. SALVATI, PETITIONER
v.
BERKS COUNTY BOARD OF ASSISTANCE, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in the case of Jodi R. Salvati v. Berks County Board of Assistance, Appeal No. 3443.

COUNSEL

Elliot A. Strokoff, Handler and Gerber, P.C., for petitioner.

Mary Frances Grabowski, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Rogers, Blatt and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Rogers, Williams, Jr., Craig, MacPhail, Doyle and Barry. Opinion by Judge Rogers. Judge Williams concurs in the result only. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Rogers

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 630]

Jodi Salvati (petitioner) has appealed from an order of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) upholding her suspension for thirty days without pay from the position of Income Maintenance Worker II with the Berks County Board of Assistance, Department of Public Welfare (DPW). A panel of this court upheld the Commission's order in Salvati v. Department of Public Welfare, 76 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 248, 463 A.2d 1224 (1983). We granted reargument and, having heard such, now reaffirm the order of the panel by this definitive opinion.

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 631]

The petitioner had been employed by the DPW since 1974. On April 1, 1981, she was arrested and arraigned on criminal charges relating to the possession and sale of controlled substances described in her brief as "a small quantity of marijuana for $100.00 and a small quantity of methamphetamine for $30.00." The petitioner did not report at work on April 2, 1981.

The petitioner's supervisor, the Executive Director of the Berks County Board of Assistance, upon hearing of the petitioner's arrest on April 2, made inquiries of the Reading Police Department and the District Justice before whom the petitioner was arraigned. He learned that the petitioner had been arrested and arraigned on seven charges of possession and delivery of amphetamines and marijuana and criminal conspiracy, some of which constituted felonies. The petitioner's supervisor also consulted with the personnel officer of the County Assistance Office and the Bureau of Labor Relations of the Department of Welfare and reviewed with these authorities the Code of Conduct for State Employes at 4 Pa. Code § 7.151. He concluded that he had no choice of action other than to suspend the petitioner,*fn1 which he did by certified mail on April 2, 1981.

The petitioner did report to work on April 3, 1981 and when, on request, she came to the Executive Director's office she commented, according to that official's unrefuted testimony, "to the effect I guess I've gotten myself in trouble again."

Section 803 of the Civil Service Act (Act), Act of August 5, 1941, P.L. 752, 71 P.S. § 741.803, provides

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 632]

    that an appointing authority may suspend an employee holding a position in the classified service, for disciplinary purposes, when there is "good cause." While the term "good cause" is not defined in the statute, that section further provides that "[w]hat shall constitute good cause for supension may be stated in the rules," and 4 Pa. Code § 101.21(a) provides that:

(a) Good cause for suspension shall be a just cause, such as:

(1) insubordination;

(2) habitual lateness in reporting for work;

(3) misconduct amounting to violation of law, rules or lawful and reasonable ...


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