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ROBERT J. DAVIS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/14/86)

decided: April 14, 1986.

ROBERT J. DAVIS, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, YOUTH DEVELOPMENT CENTER, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in the case of Robert J. Davis v. Youth Development Center at New Castle, Department of Public Welfare, Appeal No. 4696.

COUNSEL

Lawrence M. Kelly, Luxenberg & Garbett, P.C., for petitioner.

James S. Marshall, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Craig and MacPhail, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 96 Pa. Commw. Page 338]

Robert J. Davis appeals from an order of the State Civil Service Commission upholding the Youth Development Center's dismissal of Mr. Davis for just cause.

Mr. Davis worked as a Houseparent II at the center, a residential treatment facility for adjudicated delinquents. Mr. Davis was responsible for the daily supervision of the students assigned to his cottage. On July 1, 1983, the Pennsylvania State Police arrested Mr. Davis for possession with intent to deliver and delivery of a controlled substance. The following day, the New Castle News reported Mr. Davis' arrest. After verifying the arrest with the state police, Mr. Davis' personnel supervisor questioned him about the arrest. Mr. Davis admitted that the newspaper article referred to him, but, on the advice of his attorney, he refused to provide the center with any additional information. On July 6, 1983, the center suspended Mr. Davis. On August 9, 1983, the center notified Mr. Davis that management was terminating his employment because of his arrest for the alleged drug violations.

Mr. Davis appealed the termination under Section 951(a) of the Civil Service Act.*fn1 After a full commission hearing on March 27, 1984, the commission dismissed Mr. Davis' appeal. We affirm.

The issue is whether the center had just cause for terminating Mr. Davis' employment.

[ 96 Pa. Commw. Page 339]

Section 807 of the Civil Service Act*fn2 provides that "[n]o regular employee in the classified service shall be removed except for just cause." The concept of just cause is not statutorily defined. In Corder c. Civil Service Commission, 2 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 462, 467, 279 A.2d 368, 371 (1971), in defining the concept of just cause, this court emphasized a merit concept stating:

We are able to discern that the legislative intent relating to one's relationship with the classified service turns upon a merit concept. This means that any 'personnel action' carried out by the Commonwealth is to be scrutinized in the light of such merit criteria, as has the party failed to properly execute his duties, or has he done an act which hampers or frustrates the execution of same. The ...


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