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MATTER APPOINTMENT THOMAS P. ANTOLIK. COUNTY ERIE (11/29/85)

decided: November 29, 1985.

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPOINTMENT OF THOMAS P. ANTOLIK. COUNTY OF ERIE, JUDITH M. LYNCH, RICHARD J. ADAMS AND JAMES J. GOODRICH, APPELLANTS


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County in the case of In The Matter of the Appointment of Thomas P. Antolik, No. 109 of 1984.

COUNSEL

Kenneth D. Chestek, Solicitor, for appellant, County of Erie.

Henry T. Reath, with him, Dwight Reginald Whitt, Duane, Morris & Heckscher, for appellees, James B. Dwyer, President Judge, and Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County.

Alexander Unkovic, with him, James R. Mall, Meyer, Unkovic & Scott, for Amicus Curiae, Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges.

Robert L. Knupp, Graf, Knupp & Andrews, P.C., for Amicus Curiae, Pennsylvania Association of County Commissioners.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers, Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Colins.

Author: Colins

[ 93 Pa. Commw. Page 259]

Judith M. Lynch, Richard J. Adams and James J. Goodrich (appellants), who are respectively the County Executive, Director of Personnel and Director of Finance of Erie County,*fn1 appeal from an October 4, 1984 order of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County appointing Thomas P. Antolik (Antolik) Chief Juvenile Probation Officer of the Court of Common Pleas of the Sixth Judicial District. Appellants contend the elevation of Antolik from mere Juvenile Probation Officer to Chief Juvenile Probation Officer violates an applicable anti-nepotism provision ("nepotism rule") of the Personnel Code of Erie County.*fn2 James B. Dwyer, President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of the Sixth Judicial District of Pennsylvania (P. J. Dwyer) and the other Judges of that Court (appellees), who individually and as a group possess the power of appointing Juvenile Probation officers, oppose this view, contending that the inherent constitutional power of the judiciary to hire, fire and

[ 93 Pa. Commw. Page 260]

    supervise court personnel makes certain provisions of the County Personnel Code inapplicable to their decision to elevate Antolik.

Antolik has been employed since late 1974 as a Juvenile Probation Officer in Erie County. In 1979, the County Council of Erie County adopted a Personnel Code purportedly applicable to all employee hiring, firing and supervision in Erie County. This Code was amended in the spring of 1982, to state that "one member of an immediate family may not supervise any other member of the same family." "Immediate family" is broadly defined, and includes brothers. In early 1983, the County Council adopted an Administrative Code which also regulates hiring, firing and supervision of Erie County personnel. Appellee Judges did not participate in the formulation or adoption of either Code.

The nepotism issue surfaced when Andrew Antolik (A. Antolik), Antolik's brother, was hired as a Juvenile Probation Officer on June 18, 1984. His personnel change and payroll authorization card was noted as follows: "per nepotism policy, cannot be supervised by (brother) Thomas Antolik [sic] -- his supervisor will be Edward Darnell." Although Mr. Darnell was A. Antolik's immediate supervisor, Darnell in turn reports to the Chief Juvenile Probation Officer. The latter position was, on October 3, 1984, assigned to Thomas Antolik by Judge Fred Anthony (J. Anthony), thus presenting a direct conflict with the nepotism rule of the County Personnel Code.

Immediately thereafter, appellant Richard J. Adams, in his capacity as Director of Personnel of Erie County, notified appellee P. J. Dwyer by letter that he would not reclassify Antolik because the appointment violated the nepotism rule and certain provisions of the ...


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