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HENRY F. WEEKS v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION (05/30/85)

decided: May 30, 1985.

HENRY F. WEEKS, APPELLANT
v.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of Henry F. Weeks v. Civil Service Commission, City of Philadelphia, No. 5096 January Term, 1983.

COUNSEL

Herbert L. Ocks, Bloom, Ocks and Fisher, for appellant.

Jesse Milan, Jr., Assistant City Solicitor, for appellee.

Judges Craig and Colins and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins.

Author: Colins

[ 89 Pa. Commw. Page 557]

In June, 1981, the Personnel Department of the City of Philadelphia administered a promotional examination for the position of Fire Department Battalion Chief. The test consisted of two parts, one written and one oral. The relative weights to be given to the oral and written components were determined by the Personnel Department. A score of 70% was needed to pass the oral examination which was written by a personnel analyst with seven years of experience in the department, having written at least sixty (60) such examinations. The personnel analyst was assisted by a Deputy Chief of the Fire Department. This oral examination was administered and graded by several "raters" who scored the applicants on the basis of a model answer supplied by the personnel analyst.

[ 89 Pa. Commw. Page 558]

Appellant did not score 70% or better on the oral component of the examination, was thereby disqualified for promotion, and appealed to the Philadelphia Civil Service Commission (Commission). The Commission denied his appeal and the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County affirmed. This appeal followed.

Appellant contends that the Commission erred by (1) failing to recompute appellant's grades to comply with the statutory requirement of the Act of June 25, 1919, P.L. 581, as amended, 53 P.S. § 12634 (Act), which limits the weight to be given the oral part of the examination to 25% of the total examination score; (2) failing to find irregularity or bias in the construction and administration of the oral examination due to the subjectivity of the raters in their grading process; and (3) failing to find that by changing the passing grade after the written part of the examination had been given and graded, rendered the testing process illegal as a matter of law.

Appellate review of the decisions of the Commission is limited to questions of jurisdiction, the regularity of the proceedings, and whether the Commission exceeded its authority or violated a guaranteed constitutional right. Staton v. Civil Service Commission of the City of Philadelphia, 1 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 543, 275 A.2d 716 (1971).

This Court finds no abuse of the Commission's discretion in the construction or administration of the promotional examination. The Commission was well within its power when it refused a promotion to appellant.

In 1951, pursuant to 53 P.S. § 13101,*fn1 which provides that "[a]ny city of the ...


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