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BARNET ROETENBERG v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/19/86)

decided: May 19, 1986.

BARNET ROETENBERG, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, OFFICE OF BUDGET, RESPONDENT. JOHN S. WOELFL, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, OFFICE OF BUDGET, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Orders of the Civil Service Commission in case of Barnet Roetenberg v. Office of Budget, No. 4640 and John S. Woelfl v. Office of Budget, No. 4641.

COUNSEL

Edgar R. Casper, Gross & Casper, for petitioners.

Frank A. Fisher, Jr., Assistant Counsel, with him, John D. Raup, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

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

Author: Macphail

[ 97 Pa. Commw. Page 317]

Barnet Roetenberg and John S. Woelfl (Appellants) appeal from an adjudication of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) which sustained the action of the Office of Budget (OB) in furloughing them from their positions effective July 29, 1983. Both Appellants had held the position of Accounting Executive I (AEI). We reverse and remand.

Prior to their July 29, 1983 furlough, Appellants were employed as Assistant Comptrollers in OB's Revenue Comptroller office. OB was reorganized with nine comptroller offices being reduced to seven. As a result of the reorganization, OB found it necessary to furlough four individuals in the AEI classifications.

Our scope of review in considering an order of the State Civil Service Commission is limited to determining whether constitutional rights were violated, whether an error of law was committed or whether the Commission's findings of facts were supported by substantial evidence. Johnson v. Department of General Services, 91 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 96, 496 A.2d 1268 (1985).

OB determined that it would need 17 individuals to fill AEI positions after the reorganization. At the time, there were 22 people filling such positions. One of them, a Mr. Evans, was reassigned to a position in the Bureau of Financial Management, rejected that assignment and took a position in the Department of Revenue prior to the reorganization.*fn1 That left 21 people for 17 positions. OB decided to furlough 4 individuals.

[ 97 Pa. Commw. Page 318]

There was uncontroverted evidence presented that one of the 21 individuals who was left filling the AEI positions, a Mr. Higgins, was substituted for Mr. Evans and assigned to the Bureau of Financial Management.*fn2 Another one of the 21, a Mr. Deemer, was assigned to the Bureau of Operations Review.*fn3 Both Mr. Higgins and Mr. Deemer were transferred on August 2, 1983, just four days after Appellants' furlough. Because OB had already furloughed four individuals, the transfers of Mr. Higgins and Mr. Deemer left it with just 15 AEI's. OB remedied this shortfall by importing 2 AEI's from the Bureau of Financial Management.*fn4

Section 802 of the Civil Service Act*fn5 provides in pertinent part:

A furloughed employe shall have the right of return to any class and civil service status which he previously held, provided such class is contained in the current classification plan of the agency; or to any class and civil service status in the same or lower grade, provided that he meets the minimum qualifications given in the classification plan of the agency. The appointing authority shall promptly report to the director the names of employes furloughed, together with the date the furlough of each is effective and the character of his services. Under the rules a regular employe furloughed shall for a period of one year be given preference ...


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