Hartpence v. Youth Forestry Camp, No. 13477

CourtSupreme Court of South Dakota
Writing for the CourtMORGAN; FOSHEIM; WOLLMAN
Citation325 N.W.2d 292
PartiesIn the Matter of the Grievance of Joseph HARTPENCE, Employee and Appellee, v. YOUTH FORESTRY CAMP, Employer and Appellant.
Decision Date20 October 1982
Docket NumberNo. 13477

Page 292

325 N.W.2d 292
In the Matter of the Grievance of Joseph HARTPENCE, Employee
and Appellee,
v.
YOUTH FORESTRY CAMP, Employer and Appellant.
No. 13477.
Supreme Court of South Dakota.
Argued Jan. 20, 1982.
Decided Oct. 20, 1982.

Page 293

Mary Ellen McEldowney and Mark Falk, Black Hills Legal Services, Inc., Rapid City, for employee and appellee.

Michael M. Hickey of Bangs, McCullen, Butler, Foye & Simmons, Rapid City, for employer and appellant.

MORGAN, Justice.

This is an appeal from a circuit court decision which reversed a Career Service Commission decision that was in favor of the South Dakota Youth Forestry Camp (appellant). The appeal to the Career Service Commission (Commission) was from a decision of the South Dakota Board of Charities & Corrections affirming the termination of Joseph Hartpence (appellee), an employee of the Youth Forestry Camp. The circuit court had reversed the Commission's decision and remanded the case for appellee's reinstatement. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

Appellee was initially hired by appellant in 1977 as a Youth Supervisor I. As a

Page 294

youth supervisor, appellee often supervised youth on mountain climbs in the vicinity of the camp which is located at Custer in the Black Hills. Although this is apparently an inherently dangerous activity, it is approved by the Director and is part of the continuing "pine tree therapy" program at the Youth Forestry Camp. On March 2, 1980, while conducting such a climb, appellee fell. As a consequence, he broke his leg and pelvis and was rendered unconscious. Subsequently, on April 4, 1980, the camp director, Herman Venekamp offered appellee the option to resign or face termination. When appellee did not respond by the next day, Venekamp mailed a termination letter to appellee dated April 4, 1980, which states the following reasons for termination:

Section 55:01:12:05 (8) The employee is incompetent or inefficient in the performance of the duties of his position.

On March 2, 1980, the above named employee was grossly negligent in the supervision of six youth camp clients.

Appellant appeals, contending (1) that an employer is not required to give an employee a thirty-day work improvement notice prior to dismissal; and (2) that the Commission's determination was correct that one incident constitutes "just cause" for termination of a status employee.

On appeal, this court reviews the record of the administrative agency in the same manner as the circuit court, unaided by any presumption that the lower court's decision is correct. Matter of South Lincoln Rural Water System, 295 N.W.2d 743 (S.D.1980); Piper v. Neighborhood Youth Corps, 90 S.D. 443, 241 N.W.2d 868 (1976). According to SDCL 1-26-36,

[t]he court shall give great weight to the findings made and inferences drawn by an agency on questions of fact.... The court may reverse or modify the decision if substantial rights of the appellant have been prejudiced because the administrative findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions are:

. . . .

(4) Affected by other error of law;

(5) Clearly erroneous in light of the entire evidence in the record; ....

We first examine the issue regarding the administrative rules' procedural requirements for terminating a status employee. We note that appellant raised and argued this issue although the trial court had ruled in its favor. We address this issue solely because these administrative rules bear significantly upon the principal question of "job performance."

Appellant contends that it was not required to provide appellee with a thirty-day work improvement notice prior to termination. Three administrative rules interact upon our resolution of this issue. According to ARSD 55:01:12:04 an "appointing authority may dismiss ... a status employee for cause at any time. 1 "Just causes" for disciplinary action are listed in ARSD 55:01:12:05. 2 The third administrative rule,

Page 295

ARSD 55:01:12:03.01 requires that when job performance is involved the appointing authority must provide an employee "a minimum of thirty working days to improve his work performance before any disciplinary action is taken," including termination. 3

Rules on statutory construction apply to administrative rules as well. We read statutes to give effect to all provisions, State v. Heisinger, 252 N.W.2d 899 (S.D.1977), and multiple provisions covering the same subject are construed to give effect to each statute. Kinzler v. Nacey, 296 N.W.2d 725 (S.D.1980). Where there is a specific enactment, that provision prevails over the terms of the general enactment. See Clem v. City of Yankton, 83 S.D. 386, 160 N.W.2d 125 (1968); Antonen v. Swanson, 74 S.D. 1, 48 N.W.2d 161 (1951). ARSD 55:01:12:04 is a general provision relating to termination "for cause." In comparison, ARSD 55:01:12:03.01 specifically addresses disciplinary action and subsequent termination based upon job performance. According to the rules on statutory construction, the specific provision, ARSD 55:01:12:03.01, controls an action involving an employee's job performance.

Upon examining ARSD 55:01:12:05, we find that only one of these provisions relates to job performance. That provision is section 8, referring to incompetence or inefficiency in the performance of the duties of his position. The remaining "just causes" for discipline refer to instances of crime and fraud or to circumstances which are incidental to work performance. Accordingly, because incompetence refers to job performance, ARSD 55:01:12:05(8), when an employee is disciplined for incompetence the appointing authority must follow the specific procedures outlined in ARSD 55:01:12:03.01 for discipline relating to job performance.

Here, appellant terminated appellee for "incompetence" as provided in ARSD 55:01:12:05(8) but refused appellee the thirty-day work improvement notice. Since incompetence relates to job performance, this...

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66 practice notes
  • City of Sioux Falls v. Kelley, Nos. 17871
    • United States
    • South Dakota Supreme Court
    • March 31, 1994
    ...rule of statutory construction that all provisions within a statute must be given effect, if possible. Hartpence v. Youth Forestry Camp, 325 N.W.2d 292 (S.D.1982). Statutes are to be construed by their intent as determined from the statute as a whole and its enactments. Brishky v. State, 47......
  • State v. Hanson, No. 20374
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • January 20, 1999
    ...630 (second alteration in original) (quoting State v. Byrd, 398 N.W.2d 747, 749 (S.D.1986)). See also Hartpence v. Youth Forestry Camp, 325 N.W.2d 292, 296 (S.D.1982). We find that there was probable cause to test in this ¶31 The facts tell us that Hanson was in a car that smelled of burnt ......
  • State v. Britton, No. 24724.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • August 19, 2009
    ...Services, 1996 SD 34, ¶ 9, 545 N.W.2d 223, 227-28 (citing Hieb v. Opp, 458 N.W.2d 797, 800 (S.D. 1990); Hartpence v. Youth Forestry Camp, 325 N.W.2d 292, 295 (S.D.1982)). "When regulatory language is clear, certain and unambiguous, our function is confined to declaring its meaning as c......
  • Appeal of Schramm
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • May 6, 1986
    ...is, clearly erroneous as opposed to mistake of law." Permann, supra, 411 N.W.2d at 116, quoting Hartpence v. Youth Forestry Camp, 325 N.W.2d 292, 296 (S.D.1982). Questions of law such as statutory interpretation of SDCL Ch. 1-26 are reviewed by this court de novo. No deference is given......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
66 cases
  • City of Sioux Falls v. Kelley, Nos. 17871
    • United States
    • South Dakota Supreme Court
    • March 31, 1994
    ...rule of statutory construction that all provisions within a statute must be given effect, if possible. Hartpence v. Youth Forestry Camp, 325 N.W.2d 292 (S.D.1982). Statutes are to be construed by their intent as determined from the statute as a whole and its enactments. Brishky v. State, 47......
  • State v. Hanson, No. 20374
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • January 20, 1999
    ...630 (second alteration in original) (quoting State v. Byrd, 398 N.W.2d 747, 749 (S.D.1986)). See also Hartpence v. Youth Forestry Camp, 325 N.W.2d 292, 296 (S.D.1982). We find that there was probable cause to test in this ¶31 The facts tell us that Hanson was in a car that smelled of burnt ......
  • State v. Britton, No. 24724.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • August 19, 2009
    ...Services, 1996 SD 34, ¶ 9, 545 N.W.2d 223, 227-28 (citing Hieb v. Opp, 458 N.W.2d 797, 800 (S.D. 1990); Hartpence v. Youth Forestry Camp, 325 N.W.2d 292, 295 (S.D.1982)). "When regulatory language is clear, certain and unambiguous, our function is confined to declaring its meaning as clearl......
  • Steinberg v. S. Dak. Dept. of Military, No. 21101.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • March 15, 2000
    ...be given to all its provisions." Id. (citing Beitelspacher v. Winther, 447 N.W.2d 347, 351 (S.D.1989); Hartpence v. Youth Forestry Camp, 325 N.W.2d 292, 295 (S.D.1982) and State v. Heisinger, 252 N.W.2d 899, 903 (S.D.1977)). The harmonious interpretation here is to read the new phrase "majo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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