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FRANK E. AIELLO v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/19/88)

decided: December 19, 1988.

FRANK E. AIELLO, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission, in the case of Frank E. Aiello v. Department of Environmental Resources, Appeal No. 7463.

COUNSEL

Debra K. Wallet, Blank and Wallet, for petitioner.

Patrick H. Bair, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

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

Author: Barbieri

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 217]

Frank E. Aiello (Petitioner) appeals an order of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) upholding the action by the Department of Environmental Resources (Appointing Authority) in terminating his employment as a Mine Restoration Project Inspector I, regular status.

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 218]

On April 15, 1987, Petitioner pled guilty to felony charges of copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 506(a) and 18 U.S.C. § 2319(b)(2). Petitioner and another individual were doing business as Heights Terrace Video. The charges arose out of Petitioner's actions in illegally reproducing and distributing video cassette recordings in connection with this business. Petitioner was sentenced to eighteen months probation and restitution.

By letter dated May 15, 1987, the Deputy Secretary for Administration on behalf of the Appointing Authority, notified Petitioner that he was being discharged from his position as a regular Mine Restoration Project Inspector 1, as a result of his having pled guilty to the copyright infringement charges. Petitioner appealed his discharge to the Commission. By decision dated March 18, 1988, after a hearing, the Commission denied Petitioner's appeal and upheld his discharge. This appeal followed.

Petitioner contends that the felony charges to which he pled guilty were not job-related and thus there was no just cause for his discharge as required by Section 807 of the Civil Service Act*fn1 (Act). Petitioner maintains that he was discharged solely as a result of a provision in the Governor's Code of Conduct which mandates discharge upon conviction of a felony. He argues that this violates the just cause requirement of Section 807.

Our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether constitutional rights were violated, an error of law was committed, or a necessary finding of fact was unsupported by substantial evidence. Brengle v. Lancaster County Board of Assistance, 81 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 584, 474 A.2d 352 (1984).

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 219]

The Personnel Analyst in the Appointing Authority's Bureau of Personnel, Employee Relations and Safety Division was the only witness to testify before the Commission. He stated that after Petitioner admitted to pleading guilty to the felony charges, he was discharged in accordance with a provision of Executive Order 1980-18 of May 16, ...


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