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RICHARD TURZAI v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/12/85)

decided: July 12, 1985.

RICHARD TURZAI, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in case of Richard D. Turzai v. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, Appeal No. 4693.

COUNSEL

Ralph J. Ruggiero, for petitioner.

Eileen S. Maunus, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Doyle and Palladino, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle. Concurring and Dissenting Opinion by Senior Judge Kalish.

Author: Doyle

[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 375]

This is an appeal by Richard Turzai (Appellant) from an adjudication and order of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) sustaining his removal from the position of Enforcement Officer II, regular status, by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (Appointing Authority).

The Commission found that Appellant disclosed to Robert J. Sabo, the owner of Sabo's Cafe (Cafe), and

[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 376]

    to a barmaid employed there, that an investigation of the Cafe was being conducted by the Appointing Authority. The Commission further found that Appointing Authority policy prohibits the disclosure of confidential information and the revelation of complaints or complainants to unauthorized persons. Accordingly, it determined that just cause existed for the removal of Appellant pursuant to Section 807 of the Civil Service Act (Act).*fn1

Our scope of review of a Commission order is limited to determining whether there has been a constitutional violation or an error of law and whether findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence on the record. Mufson v. Department of Public Welfare, 72 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 404, 456 A.2d 736 (1983).

Appellant has raised numerous challenges to the Commission decision and we shall examine his contentions seriatim. First, Appellant maintains that the charges appearing in his removal letter were not sufficiently specific to afford him due process as mandated by Section 950 of the Act, 71 P.S. § 741.950.*fn2 The removal letter stated in pertinent part that Appellant was being charged with "[c]onduct unbecoming an Enforcement Officer by virtue of your violations of the Manual of Instructions, Chapter 641-75 and Handbook for Enforcement Officers during or about the week of April 11, 1983 in Sabo's Cafe (R-7813)." The letter further stated that the charges were (1) improper conduct while on or off duty (2) disclosing confidential information to unauthorized persons and (3) revealing complaints or complainants to unauthorized persons. The Commission, noting that the letter mentioned an approximate date and

[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 377]

    place, and included citations to the Appointing Authority manual and handbook, as well as statements of the policies allegedly violated, determined that it met the due process criteria for a personnel action letter as enunciated by this Court in Wood v. Department of Public Welfare, 49 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 383, 411 A.2d 281 (1980). We agree. Appellant cites Chavis v. Philadelphia County Board of Assistance, 29 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 205, 370 A.2d 445 (1977), in which a notice relating to falsification of documents was found to be constitutionally infirm. But the letter in Chavis contained broad general allegations such as "concealment of a material fact by omission", "gross negligence", "neglect of duty", and "failure to comply with instructions." In the instant case the charges as stated contain considerably more information than in ...


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