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PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION v. CELESTE TAYLOR (01/25/88)

decided: January 25, 1988.

PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, PETITIONER
v.
CELESTE TAYLOR, RESPONDENT. CELESTE TAYLOR, PETITIONER V. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in the case of Celeste Taylor v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, No. 5888.

COUNSEL

Louis G. Cocheres, Assistant Counsel, with him, Charles D. Shields, Jr., Assistant Counsel, Daniel P. Delaney, Deputy Chief Counsel, and Charles F. Hoffman, Chief Counsel, for petitioner-respondent.

Anthony A. Seethaler, Jr., with him, Eli A. Zlokas, for respondent-petitioner.

Judges Craig, Doyle and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 44]

These consolidated cases consist of a petition for review and a cross-petition for review of an adjudication in which the Civil Service Commission (commission) determined that the action of the Public Utility Commission (appointing authority) in demoting Celeste Taylor (employee) was proper, but that the appointing authority's furloughing her from the position to which she was demoted was improper.

The issues raised by the appointing authority's petition are (1) whether the commission's finding that the appointing authority failed to carry its burden of proving lack of work was properly supported, where the evidence related principally to the employee's performing services in a class of job different from the one from which she was furloughed and (2) whether the commission committed an error of law by considering whether any work existed for the employee rather than considering only whether work existed within her job classification.

Ms. Taylor's cross-petition for review does not challenge the commission's disposition of her demotion and furlough appeals, but rather advances a claim for payment for work performed out of class during a specific

[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 45]

    period. The employee asserts that such a claim is different from a classification claim (a matter not within the jurisdiction of the commission) and is cognizable by this court.

The facts as found by the Civil Service Commission after a hearing are as follows. Ms. Taylor began work with the appointing authority in April of 1983 as a Clerk I, probationary status, performing duties as a State Work Program Trainee. In September of 1983 Ms. Taylor was reassigned to the appointing authority's Pittsburgh office where, although retaining her Clerk I classification, she worked as a Consumer Services Representative, a job whose title was later changed to Utility Complaints Investigator (UCI). She was the only employee in the Pittsburgh office in the classification of Clerk I. The appointing authority granted Ms. Taylor regular status as a Clerk I on January 21, 1985, and then promoted her to UCI, probationary status, as of January 23, 1985.

An Interim Performance Evaluation Report of Ms. Taylor as a UCI, probationary status, dated April 12, 1985, rated her performance overall as "Unsatisfactory." By letter dated June 13, 1985, the appointing authority removed Ms. Taylor from her position as a UCI, probationary status, effective June 25, 1985, and returned her to Clerk I, regular status. The same letter also furloughed her from her position as Clerk I for lack of work, effective the same time.

Ms. Taylor appealed her demotion from UCI to Clerk I and her furlough from the Clerk I position to the Civil Service Commission. After a hearing before Mary D. Barnes, Chairman, and Ethel Barnett, Commissioner, the commission issued an order (1) dismissing Ms. Taylor's appeal of her removal from UCI and return to Clerk I and (2) sustaining Ms. Taylor's appeal of her furlough from the Clerk I position and directing

[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 46]

    that she be reinstated as a Clerk I and be reimbursed for back wages and benefits from the time of her furlough. The parties timely filed the petitions for review to this court described above.

1. Petition of the Appointing Authority

The definition of the term furlough is in section 3 of the Civil Service Act, Act of August 5, 1941, P.L. 752, ...


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