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Taylor v. Department of Civil Service

Decided: May 9, 1978.

HARRY P. TAYLOR, APPELLANT,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL SERVICE, RESPONDENT



On appeal from Civil Service Commission.

Allcorn, Horn and Furman. The opinion of the court was delivered by Horn, J.A.D.

Horn

Appellant contends in this appeal that respondent Department of Civil Service (Department) erroneously denied his request for loss of pay which admittedly resulted from what the Department asserts was an "administrative error." In view of that admission we need only recount a part of the factual events which led to appellant's claim.

Appellant held a position of Safety Engineer I in the New Jersey Department of Labor and Industry, which was covered under the Civil Service Act, N.J.S.A. 11:4-3. On April 1, 1975, due to a reduction in force, he was laid off. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 11:15-9 and N.J.A.C. 4:1-16.5 he was entitled

to have his name placed on a special reemployment list and

(c) When an office or position of the same or comparable duties and responsibilities to that previously held by the employee is to be filled in the same organization unit, his name shall be certified from the special reemployment list for appointment;

(d) If a comparable position in any other unit is to be filled by appointment from an open competitive eligible list, or a regular reemployment list, the name of the employee on the special reemployment list shall be certified before using the open competitive list or a regular reemployment list. [ N.J.A.C. 4:1-16.5]

Due to said error in the Department, instead of being certified under said regulation as of April 1, 1975 when he was laid off, appellant was not certified until July 1976.*fn1 Ultimately the Civil Service Commission determined that appellant be given permanent status, for seniority and record purposes only, retroactive to April 1, 1975. His request for back pay was denied by the Commission.

The sole question is whether the Civil Service Commission correctly denied appellant's request for back pay. We need not determine the amount of pay lost by appellant as a result of the error, because in our view the Civil Service Commission correctly denied his request.

Appellant's brief does not go beyond arguing his entitlement on the basis of the administrative error and his consequential loss. Respondent resists appellant's demand because it asserts that (1) it lacks authority to order the reimbursement of appellant for back pay under the circumstances and (2) his claim is cognizable only by a proceeding under the Tort Claims Act, N.J.S.A. 59:1-1 et seq. We agree.

The Civil Service Commission may only exercise those powers which are expressly conferred ...


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