On appeal from the New Jersey Civil Service Commission, Docket No. 2008-914.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 25, 2010
Before Judges C.L. Miniman and LeWinn.
North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue (North Hudson) appeals from the June 26, 2009 final decision of the Civil Service Commission (Commission), dismissing a charge of neglect of duty against its employee, John Woltmann, and modifying the sanctions imposed by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
Woltmann cross-appeals from the Commission's decision to uphold charges of violating North Hudson's leave policy and conduct unbecoming an officer. We affirm the appeal and cross-appeal.
Woltmann, a twenty-five-year employee of North Hudson, was on medical leave for a work-related shoulder injury between October 2005 and January 2006. On May 1, 2006, he received a preliminary notice of disciplinary action, which set forth the following specifications:
Between October 31, 2005 through January 30, 2006, the time you were on medical leave, you were restricted from driving. On a number of occasions, including January 7 and 20, 2006, you were observed driving, in violation of physician's orders. Additionally, you failed to notify [North Hudson] that you were leaving your residence.
As a result, North Hudson charged Woltmann with violating the following sections of its Department Leave Policy:
4.1(b) Employees of [North Hudson], while on medical leave or injury leave, are responsible to follow recuperative procedures outlined by the physician(s) under whose care medical leave or injury leave was secured.
4.1(d) Whenever an employee is out on medical leave, extended medical leave or injury leave, he shall remain in his residence on his duty day.*fn1 . . . If it is necessary for an employee on medical leave or injury leave to leave his residence, that employee shall notify the appropriate Duty Chief during normal business hours. . . .
4.1(f) Employees attempting to misrepresent themselves or found guilty of misrepresenting themselves as ill or injured shall be subject to all disciplinary actions deemed appropriate by [North Hudson].
4.1(g) Abuse and misuse of medical leave and injury leave is a violation of [North Hudson]'s rules and regulations and orders . . . and shall be understood to be a chargeable offense.*fn2
These charges also constituted violations of the following provisions of the New Jersey Administrative Code: N.J.A.C. 4A:2-2.3(a)(6), conduct unbecoming a public employee; 4A:2-2.3(a)(7) neglect of ...