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JOHN BALAS ET AL. v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/31/89)

decided: July 31, 1989.

JOHN BALAS ET AL., PETITIONERS,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, ALLEGHENY COUNTY ASSISTANCE OFFICE AND STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, RESPONDENTS. STEVE TOTH AND SYLVIA REIDMAN, PETITIONERS, V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, ALLEGHENY COUNTY ASSISTANCE OFFICE AND STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, RESPONDENTS



PETITION FOR REVIEW (STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION).

COUNSEL

Paul D. Boas, Berlin, Boas & Isaacson, Pittsburgh, Pa., for petitioners.

Barbara G. Raup, Chief Counsel, Harrisburg, for respondents.

Barry and McGinley, JJ., and Narick, Senior Judge.

Author: Mcginley

[ 128 Pa. Commw. Page 208]

This is a consolidated appeal by John Balas, et al. (Petitioners at No. 1392 C.D.1986) and Steve Toth and Sylvia Reidman (Petitioners at No. 1393 C.D.1986) from decisions of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission)*fn1 denying their requests for a hearing pursuant to the Civil Service Act (Act).*fn2 The decisions at No. 1392 C.D.1986 are affirmed in part and are vacated and remanded in part. The decisions at No. 1393 C.D.1986 are affirmed.

Petitioners have been employees of the Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for approximately fifteen years or longer. Prior to the personnel action which is the subject of this dispute, Petitioners were employed as Casework Supervisor 2's, which positions were designated as Pay Range 40. By letters dated February 6, 1986, Petitioners were notified that due to a classification review their classification titles had been deemed inappropriate, and that the proper classification for their positions was Income Maintenance Casework Supervisor. The pay range for the new position classification was designated either 38 or 39.*fn3 Petitioners were further advised that there was no alternate placement in their current

[ 128 Pa. Commw. Page 209]

    classification or pay range. Consequently, they were all reclassified downward to Income Maintenance Casework Supervisor. The letters informed Petitioners that their downward reclassifications would not result in a reduction of their current compensation or anniversary date. The letters further advised Petitioners that they had a right to appeal under section 951(b) of the Act, 71 P.S. § 741.951(b), relating to discrimination or other non-merit factors.

Petitioners each requested an appeal by filing appeal request form SCSC-4112 with an attachment. Therein each Petitioner asserted appeal rights pursuant to both Section 951(a) of the Act, 71 P.S. § 741.951(a), and Section 951(b) of the Act.

With respect to the hearing requests which were filed by Petitioners at No. 1392 C.D.1986, the Commission entered an order denying each such request. The Commission held that an appellant challenging a downward reallocation may do so only by stating a claim under Section 951(b) of the Act, and the Commission denied each request for hearing pursuant to Section 951(b) of the Act, holding that each Petitioner failed to state a claim or facts which would constitute an allegation of discrimination.

The Commission also denied the hearing requests which Toth and Reidman submitted due to untimeliness. A review of the record indicates that Toth and Reidman stated on their appeal request forms that they each had been notified of the personnel action on February 6, 1986.*fn4 Toth's Appeal Request was postmarked February 27, 1986, and Reidman's Appeal Request was postmarked February 28, 1986.

The Petitioners all contend that the Commission erred in denying their requests for hearing. They claim that they alleged demotions pursuant to Section 951(a) of the Act, and discrimination based on non-merit reasons pursuant to Section 951(b) of the Act. Toth and Reidman additionally assert ...


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