The opinion of the court was delivered by: Senior Judge Flaherty
Submitted: August 29, 2008
BEFORE: HONORABLE BONNIE BRIGANCE LEADBETTER,President Judge, HONORABLE ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Judge, HONORABLE JIM FLAHERTY, Senior Judge.
Ming Wei (Wei) petitions for review pro se from an order of the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) which dismissed his appeal wherein he challenged his removal from employment with the Department of Health (Department) and sustained the Department's action. We affirm.
Wei worked for the Department as an epidemiologist for approximately six and one-half years. In a letter dated September 4, 2007, the Department notified Wei that he was being removed from his position because of insubordination and unsatisfactory work performance. Specifically, the Department maintained that Wei "failed to complete the 2005 backlog data work assignment as directed by July 31, 2007." (Commission Exhibit A.) Wei appealed his removal to the Commission, which conducted a hearing and made the following determinations.
While working for the Department, Wei was the human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) data manager. The Pennsylvania National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (PANEDSS) is a communicable disease reporting system which is accessed via the internet. Medical professionals and hospitals transmit data about different communicable diseases to the Department using PANEDSS. The Department uses the data collected to investigate diseases and generate reports.
Prior to December 2005, HIV/AIDS was reported using a communicable report system called HARS which used various software formats.*fn1 In December 2006, Veronica Urdaneta (Urdaneta), Wei's supervisor, assigned Wei the task of converting the HARS HIV/AIDS data files into one software format, SAS.*fn2
The task was solely Wei's responsibility and Wei was instructed to convert the data from 2005 only. Urdaneta did not initially give Wei a deadline for completion.
Once the 2005 HARS HIV/AIDS data files were converted, the Department could then assess whether data was missing, duplicated or invalid. From that point, the Department could then assess whether it was worthwhile to input the data to PANEDSS and if so, whether an outside contractor should perform the task.
Wei asked for a template of the data he was to convert, which reflected that data that would later be captured by PANEDSS. The Bureau of Information Technology (BIT) provided Wei a draft layout in January 2007 and Wei was informed that because PANEDSS was in its early stages, the layout could change.*fn3
Wei was repeatedly told not to test the draft layout and that the layout would probably change. Wei was reinstructed that his assignment was to convert the HARS HIV/AIDS data files.
On February 6, 2007, Wei sent an email to Bob Giallo at BIT, wherein he sent a sample of 158 real potential cases which he wanted Giallo to test for consistency with the draft layout. In a response, Giallo informed Wei that he was getting too deep into the process and reminded him that the layout would probably change. Urdaneta also testified that she never instructed Wei to test the draft layout and, further that she instructed Wei to stop additional communications regarding the draft layout until she spoke with him.
In a letter dated April 4, 2007, Wei received a written reprimand for insubordination for failing to attend a monthly HIV/AIDS data management and analysis meeting as instructed.
On April 9, 2007, Urdaneta informed Wei that enough time had passed for completion of the project. She then told him to complete the project and that he was to attach a report with his findings by April 30, 2007. She also informed Wei that if he didn't know how to complete the project, he was to let Urdaneta know. Wei responded that it was a large project to complete and that he would need a clerk to help. Urdaneta responded that Wei was supposed to have been working on the HARS HIV/AIDS project when it was first assigned to him and that she would look into providing a clerk. Wei further responded that he should not be working on the ...