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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. MARK E. EHNOT (11/02/87)

decided: November 2, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION AT GRATERFORD, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, PETITIONER
v.
MARK E. EHNOT, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the order of the State Civil Service Commission, in case of Mark E. Ehnot v. State Correctional Institution at Graterford, Department of Corrections, Appeal No. 6043.

COUNSEL

David B. Farney, Assistant Counsel, for petitioner.

No appearance for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judge Doyle, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 609]

The Department of Corrections (Department) appeals a State Civil Service Commission (Commission) order reversing the Department's five-day suspension of Mark Ehnot from his position as Institutional Music Teacher I. We affirm.

The Department suspended Ehnot, a music teacher at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, on the charge of "negligently" importing contraband methamphetamine into the Institution. The methamphetamine was found taped to the inside of Ehnot's music folder. It was stipulated that the contraband was planted there without Ehnot's knowledge by an inmate with a

[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 610]

    personal vengeance against Ehnot. Institution officials discovered the contraband when, acting upon a anonymous tip, they searched Ehnot when he reentered the prison on the following day.

Section 803 of the Civil Service Act*fn1 requires that disciplinary suspensions be for good cause. The alleged "good cause" must relate to one's competence and ability to properly execute job duties.*fn2 Toland v. State Correctional Institution at Graterford, 95 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 634, 506 A.2d 504 (1986).

The Commission concluded that the Department did not have "good cause" for the suspension because Ehnot had no duty to secure his personal effects since he had no knowledge that he was carrying contraband.

The Department contends*fn3 that it established good cause in that Ehnot neglected ...


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