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JOHN F. CRAVEN v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/19/85)

decided: June 19, 1985.

JOHN F. CRAVEN, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in the case of John F. Craven v. Department of Transportation, Appeal No. 4009.

COUNSEL

Helen R. Kotler, with her, Jeffrey M. Friedman, for petitioner.

Robert C. Bell, Assistant Counsel, with him, Michael J. McCaney, Jr., Assistant Counsel, Spencer A. Manthorpe, Chief Counsel, and Jay C. Waldman, General Counsel, for respondent.

Judges MacPhail and Colins and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins.

Author: Colins

[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 220]

This is an appeal by John F. Craven (petitioner) from a decision of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission), which ordered his reinstatement to the Department of Transportation (Department), but denied him back pay. The Commission found that petitioner was not entitled to back pay because he did not effectively perform his duties as a Highway Equipment Manager III in the Allegheny County District. Since being hired in October, 1979, petitioner's primary duty was to ensure that preventive maintenance was completed on Department equipment.

[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 221]

In August, 1981, petitioner's records for preventive maintenance were audited and deficiencies were discovered. An administrative control mechanism was put in place to assist petitioner in meeting deadlines and keeping supervisors informed. Petitioner's job performance, however, did not seem to improve substantially, and by memorandum dated November 2, 1981, petitioner was informed by the Department of its concern for his management attitude. The Department specifically mentioned poorly prepared summer equipment inspection reports and a failure to meet deadlines. In mid-November, petitioner's supervisor gave him six weeks to correct these problems.

In January, 1982 and again in April, 1982, County Highway Equipment Manager Evaluations (CHEM) rated petitioner unsatisfactory on 8 of 35 categories. By letter dated May 4, 1982, petitioner was dismissed from his position. He filed a timely appeal with the Commission and the hearing was held in November, 1982.

The Commission found that the Department's expectations were unreasonable because the District assigned to petitioner was too large and dispersed for him to effectively manage. It also found that some of the deficiencies had existed prior to petitioner assuming this position and that petitioner's performance had improved to the point where removal was not for just cause. The Commission, therefore, ordered reinstatement. Petitioner, however, was denied back pay because the Commission also found that he was made aware of the need for improvement on several occasions and should have directed more time and energy into these matters.

On April 12, 1984, this Court vacated the order of the Commission which denied back pay and remanded the case for further findings of fact on that issue.

[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 222]

The court was unable to determine on exactly what evidence the Commission relied.*fn1 On June 20, 1984, the Commission reaffirmed its April 29, 1983 decision and specifically stated as its reasons petitioner's failure to: (1) complete a project calling for the ongoing repair or replacement of rusted panels on dump trucks and cabs of Mack trucks; (2) prepare an evaluation and estimate of repair for an O'Brien Sewer Flusher; (3) implement, in a timely fashion, the removal of an underground oil storage tank which the State Fire Marshall had directed was to be removed; (4) communicate effectively to his subordinates the proper manner for completing forms which advise the Department's mechanics of what repairs are needed on a particular piece of equipment. These, the Commission ...


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