Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in the case of George A. Behm, Jr. v. Norristown State Hospital, Department of Public Welfare, Appeal No. 5083.
William J. C. O'Donnell, O'Donnell Law Offices, for petitioner.
Earl R. Dryer, Deputy Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Doyle and Barry and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 208]
This is an appeal by George A. Behm, Jr. (Appellant) from an order of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) denying his request for a hearing. Appellant filed a request for a hearing with the Commission utilizing the Commission's Appeal Request form. Appellant checked a block on the form which indicated that he was appealing a "demotion" under Section 951(a) of the Civil Service Act, Act of August 5, 1941, P.L. 752, as amended, 71 P.S. § 741.951(a) (Act).*fn1 He also indicated on the Appeal Request form that the appointing authority (Department of Public Welfare) had given no reason for demoting him. Section 951(a) allows a regular status employee to appeal a demotion. Appellant also indicated on the form that he wished to appeal under Section 951(b) of the Act, 71 P.S. § 741.951(b), which relates to appeals alleging discrimination. The Appeal Request form directs an individual appealing on the basis of discrimination to "STATE ALL OF THE SPECIFIC REASONS FOR YOUR APPEAL IN THE SPACE PROVIDED." The instructions go to to state, "TO THE BEST OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE, STATE WHO DISCRIMINATED AGAINST YOU, WHEN THE DISCRIMINATION OCCURRED AND WHAT THE DISCRIMINATORY ACTIONS WERE. [YOUR APPEAL MAY BE DENIED IF YOU ARE NOT SPECIFIC.]" In addition, the Commission's
[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 209]
rule relating to requests for hearings states, "[a]ppeals under Section 951(b) of the Civil Service Act (71 P.S. § 741.951(b)) which do not state specific acts of discrimination may be dismissed." 4 Pa. Code § 105.12(c).
In completing the appeal request form Appellant typed the following information on the form:
As a result of a collective bargaining agreement between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Nurses Association, duly approved by Governor Dick Thornburgh on January 26, 1984, of which notice was given to appellant on January 30, 1984, appellant has been effectively demoted from Pharmacist III to Pharmacist II and has been discriminated against in that, as a result of that collective bargaining agreement, all pharmacists in the employ of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with the exception of appellant and a small handful, in addition to a 2 percent across-the-board, cost-of-living increment, received salary increases ranging from 5 to 15 percent while, without reason, and wholly unrelated to merit, appellant has received no salary increase other than the across-the-board, cost-of-living increase.
The Commission dismissed the appeal after determining that no personnel action appealable under the Act or the Commission's rules (4 Pa. Code §§ 91.1-110.5) had been alleged.
[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 210]
Our scope of review of a Commission adjudication is limited to determining whether there has been a violation of constitutional rights or an error of law or whether findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence. Cunningham v. State Civil Service Page ...