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STATE CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION AT PITTSBURGH v. DOUGLAS ADAMSON (12/14/89)

decided: December 14, 1989.

STATE CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION AT PITTSBURGH, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, PETITIONER,
v.
DOUGLAS ADAMSON, RESPONDENT



PETITION FOR REVIEW (STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION).

COUNSEL

David B. Farney, Asst. Counsel, Camp Hill, for petitioner.

D. Keith Melenyzer, with him, Louann Petrucci Zemany, Melenyzer & Tershel, Charleroi, for respondent.

Craig, Barry and Smith, JJ.

Author: Smith

[ 130 Pa. Commw. Page 170]

The State Correctional Institution at Pittsburgh, Department of Corrections (Department) appeals from an order of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) reinstating Douglas Adamson (Adamson) to his former position as Corrections Officer I, regular status, with backpay and emoluments. The decision of the Commission is reversed.

Adamson was terminated from his position as a Corrections Officer I for having violated Rules B-4, B-8, B-10, B-13 and B-20 of the Department's Code of Ethics as a result of his actions on August 15 and 16, 1988. The Commission found that on August 15, 1988, Adamson was assigned to guard an inmate at St. John's Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Upon completing a second therapeutic walk with the inmate on August 15, Adamson secured the inmate in his leg irons but failed to remove the handcuff key from the leg irons. While Adamson was in an adjoining bathroom, the inmate was able to remove the leg irons, and on Adamson's return, the inmate jumped from his bed and left the room. Adamson pursued the inmate who was

[ 130 Pa. Commw. Page 171]

    ultimately apprehended by two nurses, a nurses' aide and Adamson.

Adamson failed to notify his supervisor of the inmate's escape attempt. He also failed to notify his relieving officer, who reported to work at 10:00 p.m., of the attempted escape. The Department was first notified of the escape attempt by hospital personnel at approximately 11:00 p.m. on August 15, 1988. It was not until Adamson reported to work at 2:00 p.m. the following day on August 16 and was questioned about the incident that he completed a written report of the escape attempt. Adamson received notice dated August 17, 1988 of an administrative hearing scheduled for August 22, 1988 on the incident. Thereafter, Adamson received a termination letter dated September 9, 1988 in which the Department retroactively terminated Adamson's employment effective 2:30 p.m., September 8, 1988. Adamson appealed the Department's decision to the Commission which by its order of April 27, 1989 reinstated Adamson to his position with backpay and emoluments less wages earned and benefits received. It is from this reinstatement order that the Department appeals to this Court.*fn1

The issue before this Court is whether the record supports the charges set forth in Adamson's disciplinary notice of termination. The Code of Ethics violations charged against Adamson state in pertinent part as follows:

B-4: Each employee is to assist in preventing an escape or in pursuing an escapee as directed by the ...


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