Dick Luman, 15-year Road Department mechanic for Mono County has tried and tried to get his job back. He’s still trying.
Mono County filed a petition appealing the most recent order of Judge Stan Eller that required the County to reinstate Luman while the underlying appeal of his firing is pending. Mono County appealed that order. Earlier this month, the Court of Appeals granted the County’s request of a stay without providing any reason. Now, the entire appeal process is apparently pending before the Court of Appeals.
More than two years ago, Mono County fired Luman for an on-the-job dispute. After a failed appeal, his attorney, Katie Bellomo, took the case to Superior Court where Judge Stan Eller ruled that Luman should not have been fired, should be reinstated and should be given a new penalty hearing with the result something other than termination. The Mono County Counsel appealed that order.
While that appeal is pending, Bellomo asked Judge Eller to reinstate her client who has been unable to find a job due to the cloud of legal uncertainty over his situation. Judge Eller ordered the County to reinstate Luman on or before October 27th. They did not.
Judge Eller’s decision describes Dick Luman as a 62-year-old man “who has labored in his profession as a diesel mechanic for approximately 40 years.” The Judge notes that he was terminated in December of 2011 and that for nearly 3 years he has been unable to obtain employment as a mechanic.
The decision says that “His ‘terminated’ status is a stigma that has rendered him an outcast and a reject that has prevented him, especially at his age, from obtaining meaningful employment in his profession.”
The decision goes on to say that “This dilemma has caused not only severe economic hardship. It is clear,” writes the Judge, “it is also taking a personal toll on Mr. Luman rendering him unable to continue in a profession he has essentially spent his entire working life in; especially now at the twilight of his career.”
The Judge concludes that Luman is entitled to relief sought which he believes will not render the County’s appeal meaningless. The decision says Mr. Luman’s reinstatement would be temporary for the period only of the County’s appeal. The Court of Appeals disagreed.