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PHYLLIS M. SWEETING v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/07/86)

decided: February 7, 1986.

PHYLLIS M. SWEETING, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE, RESPONDENT. DARRELL COX, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Orders of the Pennsylvania State Police in cases of Trooper Phyllis Sweeting, dated December 18, 1984, and in case of Trooper Darrell Cox, dated December 26, 1984.

COUNSEL

Anthony C. Busillo, II, for petitioners.

Gregory R. Neuhauser, Deputy Attorney General, with him, Allen C. Warshaw, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Chief, Litigation Section, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondent.

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

Author: Doyle

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 46]

These are appeals by Darrell Cox and Phyllis M. Sweeting*fn1 (Petitioners) from determinations of the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police (Commissioner)

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 47]

    to dismiss Petitioners from employment. Petitioners were probationary state troopers at the time of their discharges.

On or about November 17, 1984 Petitioner Cox, who graduated from the State Police Academy on or about November 17, 1983, received notice that a review committee was being convened and that a departmental hearing would be scheduled on December 18, 1984 to review Petitioner's record. The notice sent to Petitioner Cox did not set forth specific bases upon which his record was being reviewed, but stated that his "entire record of accidents, other incidents, investigations and disciplinary action may be open to discussion. . . ." A hearing was held on December 18, 1984 at which time Petitioner Cox was permitted to introduce evidence and question state police witnesses. Subsequent to the hearing, on December 26, 1984, Petitioner Cox received his dismissal notice effective December 28, 1984. The dismissal notice did not contain findings of fact or reasons for the determination.

Petitioner Sweeting, who also graduated on or about November 17, 1983, received notice on November 9, 1984 that a review committee was being convened and that a department hearing would be scheduled for her on December 10, 1984. As with Petitioner Cox, Petitioner Sweeting's notice did not set forth the specific bases on which her record was being reviewed, but also contained the same broad language as did the other notice. Subsequent to the December 10, 1984 hearing, Petitioner Sweeting on December 18, 1984, was notified of her dismissal effective December 21, 1984 and as with Petitioner Cox, no reasons were given for the dismissal of Petitioner Sweeting.

On appeal to this Court Petitioners maintain that probationary state troopers possess property rights in continued employment and accordingly assert that their dismissal procedures must comply with the requirements

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 48]

    of notice and an opportunity to be heard and a written adjudication pursuant to Sections 504 and 101 of the Administrative ...


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