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ROD J. MARAS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/02/87)

decided: December 2, 1987.

ROD J. MARAS, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of Appeal of: Rod J. Maras, File No. 61H0001.

COUNSEL

Bruce A. Barrett, Barrett & Dratler, for petitioner.

James S. Marshall, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

Judges MacPhail and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 405]

Rod J. Maras (Petitioner) appeals a decision of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) that he was not entitled to any additional salary or a 2% bonus provided by the collective bargaining agreement between the Commonwealth and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) during the six months he worked in a temporary position.

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 406]

Petitioner was an employee of DPW at Polk Center when he sustained severe head injuries in an automobile accident in April, 1977 while on work related business. He received workmen's compensation benefits until he returned to his position as a Psychological Service Associate II (PSA II) in January, 1978. In June, 1981, Petitioner again suffered a work related head injury, inflicted by one of the patients at Polk, which exacerbated the damage suffered in the first accident. He received workmen's compensation benefits until he returned to work in January, 1982. On September 1, 1983, Petitioner suffered a recurrence of the problems which had resulted from his head injuries and could not continue to perform his job and applied for disability leave. Petitioner's salary was $938.25 biweekly on September 1, 1983. When his disability recurred, he was placed on Act 534*fn1 benefits and received $765 biweekly, the amount of his salary when he was injured by the patient in 1981.

Petitioner, desirous of returning to work, requested a transfer to a comparable job at another DPW facility. An alternative work site arrangement agreement was reached on June 14, 1984, which provided Petitioner with temporary employment as an Income Maintenance Work (IMW) Trainee at the Crawford County Assistance Office (CAO). If Petitioner successfully completed

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 407]

    a training program and work trial period and an IMW position was available, he would receive an appointment to an IMW I position. Petitioner began this temporary job on June 18, 1984. On December 14, 1984, Petitioner was terminated from this position because he was not able to satisfactorily perform the job functions during the work trial period. While working at the CAO, Petitioner was paid $765 biweekly, the amount he received at the time he was injured by the patient in June, 1981, and was maintained as an employee on the Polk Center records. The salary for the job he was performing (IMW Trainee) was $664.50 biweekly.

In April, 1985, Petitioner, through his attorney, sought additional compensation from DPW. He contended that under the terms of the alternative work site arrangement agreement and the collective bargaining agreement between the Commonwealth and SEIU he was entitled to additional compensation. The amount sought for a period from June 18, 1984 to July 1, 1984 was the difference between the $765 he received biweekly and the $954 biweekly salary paid to those in PSA II positions. He also sought the difference between the $982.50 biweekly amount paid PSA II positions for the period from July 1, 1984 to December 14, 1984 and the $765. Additionally, he sought the 2% bonus the collective bargaining agreement provided to be paid to those in "active" pay status on January 1, 1985 or to those in "inactive" pay status who return to "active" status by July 1, 1985 and have 18 months "active" service since July 1, 1983.

DPW's Office of Personnel Services denied Petitioner's request. He appealed this decision. After a hearing, the hearing officer issued a recommendation in which he concluded Petitioner was not entitled to the salary increases because Act 534 limited benefits ...


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