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Mendonca v. Civil Service Commission

Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk

December 12, 2014

Paul Mendonca
v.
Civil Service Commission & another. [1]

Argued September 15, 2014.

Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on January 13, 2012.

The case was heard by Garry V. Inge, J., on a motion for judgment on the pleadings.

Richard L. Neumeier ( Galen Gilbert with him) for the plaintiff.

Iraida J. Alvarez, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendants.

Present: Berry, Kafker, & Carhart, JJ.

OPINION

[23 N.E.3d 109] Carhart, J.

Paul Mendonca appeals from the entry of judgment in favor of the defendants following a Superior Court judge's denial of his motion for judgment on the pleadings. Mendonca had sought review pursuant to G. L. c. 31, § 44, of a decision by

Page 758

the Civil Service Commission (commission) upholding his layoff by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD). Mendonca alleged that the layoff violated his rights as a disabled veteran. We agree and reverse.

Background.

Mendonca is a disabled Vietnam War veteran. He holds a bachelor of science degree in business management from Suffolk University and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Massachusetts. Mendonca's extensive work history includes management, training, and marketing in the human resources field. He has negotiated and managed labor agreements to ensure labor law compliance; he has established and implemented human resources systems for various companies; he has recruited and trained staff; and he has secured competitive State abandoned property audit contracts for private companies.

On May 3, 1999, the Commonwealth hired Mendonca as a provisional Administrator III. A Management Questionnaire (MQ) describing Mendonca's position shows that Mendonca was responsible for administering the Commonwealth's federally funded Job Search/Job Readiness Program (JS/JR). Mendonca worked closely with several State agencies, including the Departments of Transitional Assistance (DTA), Unemployment Assistance (DUA), and Career Services (DCS), and ensured that JS/JR " [wa]s operated according to Federal, State and contractual requirements." Mendonca's duties included negotiating and drafting interdepartmental service agreements; specifically, he " [r]ecommend[ed] amounts and conditions for reimbursement, scope of services, program requirements, key performance objectives, budget provisions and staffing configurations to ensure contractual goals are achievable."

[23 N.E.3d 110] On March 29, 2007, the human resources division of EOLWD determined that the title Program Coordinator II more accurately reflected Mendonca's duties. However, Mendonca retained the title Administrator III. Mendonca was laid off on April 10, 2008, when his position was eliminated as a result of budget cuts. Four other Administrator III positions existed at that time: Web services manager, deputy director of contracts and procurement (deputy director), Hurley Building superintendent (superintendent), and manager of the office of multilingual services. The individuals holding these positions included one veteran holding a permanent original appointment, and three nonveterans

The MQ for each respective position lists its requirements. The Web services manager must hold a " ...


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