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In the Matter of Maria Menichelli

May 5, 2011

IN THE MATTER OF MARIA MENICHELLI, MERCER COUNTY BOARD OF SOCIAL SERVICES.


On appeal from a Final Administrative Action of the Civil Service Commission, Docket No. 2009-3016.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted February 28, 2011

Before Judges Reisner and Alvarez.

After conducting a classification audit, the New Jersey Division of Local Human Resources Management (LHRM) determined Maria Menichelli, who had been provisionally promoted to the position of Office Services Manager by the Mercer County Board of Social Services (MCBSS), was not fulfilling duties and responsibilities commensurate with that title. The LHRM instead determined her appropriate job classification was that of Secretarial Assistant. On May 21, 2007, MCBSS appealed the decision to the Merit Board, now the Civil Service Commission (Commission).

After the Commission affirmed the LHRM decision on January 15, 2009, MCBSS sought reconsideration, which the Commission denied on June 1, 2009. MCBSS and Menichelli appeal. We affirm.

LHRM's review of the appointment included information submitted through a July 6, 2006 position classification questionnaire form and attachments, an August 30, 2006 field audit, and a December 5, 2006 follow-up phone interview.

On February 2, 2007, the LHRM informed Menichelli and MCBSS that her primary duties did not accord with the position of Office Services Manager; rather, because they primarily revolved around assisting MCBSS's Chief of Administrative Services, her correct classification was that of "Secretarial Assistant." As the LHRM stated in its decision, Menichelli's primary duties did not call for substantial independent function.

The Commission stated Menichelli "primarily functioned as an assistant to" the Chief of Administrative Services and did not independently supervise employees. The decision further noted that, during the onsite audit of her position, Menichelli "made it clear that she made recommendations and suggestions to her supervisor, but that the ultimate decision-making authority in the Division of Administrative Services" was that supervisor. Because Menichelli did not have direct responsibility for, or prepare employee performance evaluations leading to, "hiring, firing, promoting, or disciplining of subordinates," her tasks with regard to staff were in the nature "of a lead worker, not that of a supervisor."

In the June 1, 2009 reconsideration decision, the Commission found MCBSS had not established "a clear material error" or presented new evidence. Relevant new evidence would have been additional information about Menichelli's job functioning from prior to the 2006 review, such as would have a material effect on the outcome, together with the reasons the new information was not presented. For example, Menichelli submitted three 2008 evaluations of employees, which she conducted, in support of reconsideration; however, she readily acknowledged not being responsible to administer such evaluations prior to completion of her questionnaire, the field audit, or the follow-up phone interview in 2006. Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 4A:2-1.6(b), therefore, reconsideration was not granted.

Judicial review of an agency's final decision is limited. We ask the following:

(1) whether the agency's decision offends the State or Federal Constitution;

(2) whether the agency's action violates express or implied legislative policies;

(3) whether the record contains substantial evidence to support the findings on which the agency based its action; and (4) whether in applying the legislative policies to the facts, the agency clearly erred in reaching a conclusion that could not reasonably have been made on a showing of the relevant factors. [George ...


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