Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania State Civil Service Commission in the case of Nicholas Lylo v. Department of Environmental Resources, Appeal No. 4187.
William A. Hebe, Spencer, Gleason & Hebe, for petitioner.
Arthur M. Feld, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Rogers, Craig and Colins, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
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Nicholas Lylo seeks review of an order of the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission (Commission) dismissing his appeal from suspension, effective May 14, 1982, and subsequent removal, effective October 25, 1982, from his position as Forester IV, regular status, by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (DER).
On May 14, 1982, Lylo was orally suspended without pay from his position with the classified service because of criminal charges filed against him. By letter dated May 20, 1982, DER confirmed the oral suspension giving as its reason "that charges of criminal activity involving the performance of your duties as a Forester have been filed against you by the State Attorney General." The letter further stated that because Section 803 of the Civil Service Act (Act)*fn1 requires that the suspension not exceed thirty days, "[i]f no determination is made on the criminal proceedings against you during that thirty (30) day period,
[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 103]
you will be discharged as of the close of business June 25, 1982." Lylo's criminal case was delayed beyond the thirty day period and by letter dated June 25, 1982 he was discharged from his position because "on May 14, 1982 you were arrested on charges of criminal activity involving the performance of your duties as a Forester." The discharge letter informed Lylo that his removal would be reconsidered after the final disposition of the criminal proceedings.
On October 1, 1982, Lylo was arraigned on forty counts of criminal conduct involving his duties as a forester. He was accepted into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program*fn2 and was, inter alia, placed on probation for twenty-four months. Although acceptance into the ARD program involves no finding of guilt and provides for a dismissal of all charges upon a successful completion of the program, DER informed Lylo by letter dated October 25, 1982 of its decision to reaffirm his removal based upon eight incidents revealed by its own investigation which were particularly described and which included unauthorized removal of Bureau of Forestry logs, submitting fictitious bid proposals and directing that false insurance claims be made.
Lylo appealed the initial suspension and the two removal actions, dated June 25, 1982 and October 25, 1982, respectively, to the Commission. The Commission upheld the suspension and the second removal action of October 25, 1982 after sustaining seven of the eight counts enumerated in DER's October 25, 1982 termination letter. It concluded, however, that DER's June 25, 1982 letter did not constitute sufficient notice of removal because it did not state with sufficient specificity the reasons for termination as required by
[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 104]
Section 950 of the Act, 71 P.S. § 741.950*fn3 and 4 Pa. Code § 105.3(a).*fn4 The Commission further concluded that mere arrest did not in this case constitute just cause for Lylo's removal under Section 807 of the Act, 71 P.S. § 741.807 and ordered that Lylo be reimbursed for loss of wages and emoluments from June ...