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THOMAS ADAMOVICH v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/06/86)

decided: February 6, 1986.

THOMAS ADAMOVICH, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, EMBREEVILLE STATE HOSPITAL, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in the case of Thomas Adamovich v. Embreeville State Hospital, Department of Public Welfare, Appeal No. 4509.

COUNSEL

Hudson L. Voltz, Voltz and Czaplicki Associates, for petitioner.

James S. Marshall, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

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

Author: Doyle

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 23]

This is an appeal by Thomas Adamovich (Appellant) from an order of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) sustaining the action of the Department of Public Welfare, Embreeville State Hospital (Appointing Authority) in removing Appellant from his position as Institutional Business Manager III, regular status, on specific charges of continued unsatisfactory work performance.

The Commission made numerous findings relating to both Appellant's duties and his deficiencies. With respect to the former the Commission determined that "appellant was responsible for the planning, organizing, directing, and controlling of all of the administrative support services and all of the fiscal budgetary, and purchasing activities for the appointing authority." Support services include "personnel, maintenance, housekeeping, laundry, warehousing, security, labor relations, and accounting." With respect to the latter the Commission found that Appellant, inter alia, delegated responsibility for analyzing the budget expenditures which resulted in the Appointing Authority's having to reallocate funds to maintain its operations, failed to submit a plan to assure adequate linen for the Appointing Authority's patients, failed to submit requested reports and submitted other reports which were lacking in substance, failed to monitor and evaluate a contract with a cockroach exterminating

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 24]

    firm, and failed to supply adequate toiletries for patient use. In addition, the Commission determined that Appellant stated to the Appointing Authority's Director of Operations Review that the Appointing Authority's housekeeping budget was high "because eighty per cent of the staff here is niggers." With respect to this particular remark the Commission went on to find:

[A]ppellant's statement was made for the purpose of excusing his own inept performance and deflecting criticism upon minority employes under his supervision. . . . We note that appellant is in a high-level management position and can be expected to conduct himself with tact and dignity. His comment was not only improper, but inexcusable, and constitutes just cause for his removal.

Based upon these findings the Commission ruled that Appellant had been removed for just cause pursuant to Section 807 of the Civil Service Act*fn1 (Act), 71 P.S. § 741.807. We note that an employee is properly removed for just cause if the removal is based upon job-related criteria and touches in a logical and rational manner upon competency and ability. Konick Appeal, 34 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 502, 383 A.2d 1002 (1978). In addition, the Commission ruled that the Appointing Authority did not discriminate against Appellant in violation of Section 905.1 of the Act,*fn2 71 P.S. § 741.905(a).

On appeal Appellant asserts three issues for our consideration. We shall examine them seriatim keeping in mind that our scope of review of a Commission order is limited to determining whether Appellant's

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 25]

    constitutional rights have been violated, whether an error of law has been committed, and whether the necessary findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence on the record. Cotter v. State Civil Service Commission, 13 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 49, 318 A.2d 390 (1974). Appellant does not directly attack the findings of the Commission as being unsupported by substantial evidence. Rather, he asserts that because the Commission found that the Appointing Authority's purchasing office (over which Appellant had supervisory authority) was understaffed, it could not properly conclude that Appellant was capable of performing all of the duties assigned to him. To this end, Appellant relies upon Gibbs v. Civil Service Commission, 3 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 230, 281 A.2d 170 (1971) for the proposition that an employee must perform only those duties that reasonably can be expected of him. In Gibbs this Court noted that there was undisputed testimony that the employee, a Beautician I, was given an unreasonable workload with respect to both the number of hospital patients she was to service and the time in which she was to complete those services. We thus found in Gibbs that the appointing authority had failed to establish that the employee had unsatisfactorily performed the duties reasonably expected of her, and so held that just cause for her removal had not been demonstrated.

In the instant case, however, the Commission found that the staffing shortage was anticipated and further found that although Appellant may have had to perform extra duties, he failed to effectively plan ...


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