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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. BASIL S. MASKALY (02/01/89)

decided: February 1, 1989.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, SCRANTON STATE SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF, PETITIONER
v.
BASIL S. MASKALY, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission, in the case of Basil S. Maskaly v. Scranton State School for the Deaf, Department of Education, No. 7415.

COUNSEL

Mary Patricia Fullerton, Assistant Counsel, with her, Jay Heubert, Chief Counsel, for petitioner.

No appearance for respondent.

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

Author: Craig

[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 273]

The Scranton State School for the Deaf, of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, appeals from an adjudication of the State Civil Service Commission which (1) ordered the school to eliminate from its records a 1983 demotion of Basil Maskaly from Laundry Worker 2 status, and to reimburse that employee the difference between laundry worker wages and the wages actually received between December of 1983 and January of 1987, but also (2) dismissed the employee's appeal insofar as it sought to challenge the school's ultimate furlough of him from employment in January, 1987.

[ 123 Pa. Commw. Page 274]

The school maintains that the commission had no jurisdiction to act because the employee's appeal to the commission was untimely.

The specific question this court must consider is whether the commission could remedy the lack of jurisdiction resulting from an untimely appeal by taking up the tardy issue under its power to investigate civil service matters upon its own initiative.

According to the findings of the commission, the employee duly held the position of Laundry Worker 2 in late 1983, when the school decided to eliminate its laundry operation. Although there was no record of a written request for voluntary demotion, the school notified the employee that his "voluntary demotion" to Custodial Worker 1, as of December, 1983, had been approved. The commission also found that, although the custodial worker position did not have civil service protection, the school wrongly advised the employee that civil service protection remained in force in the position to which he was demoted.

Finally, as the commission found, the school furloughed the employee from his custodial worker position by letter of December 10, 1986, effective January 9, 1987; that December letter was the first notice received by the employee that the demotion had eliminated his civil service status.

The employee filed an appeal from the December 10, 1986 notification of furlough, but he did not enter his appeal until March 31, 1987, well beyond the twenty-day appeal period described by section 951(a) of the Civil Service Act of ...


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