Judge rules against Mono County and for former Deputy Madrid

monosheriffMono County, represented by John Vallejo of the County Counsel’s Office, petitioned Superior Court to set aside last February’s arbitration decision in the termination of Deputy Jon Madrid. In a tentative decision, Judge James Garbolino ruled solidly against Mono County and included several quotes in his decision, highly critical of the Mono Sheriff’s Department. He reaffirmed that Deputy Madrid is reinstated with back pay.

In a 19-page decision, Judge Garbolino declines to re-hear the case but reaffirms the arbitrator’s decision with a very minor difference over a limited period of time for back pay. The arbitrator had found no wrong-doing on the part of Deputy Madrid and reinstated him with full back pay. The arbitrator had said that he found “serious abuse of discretion” by the Sheriff’s administration when they fired Madrid and then called him back to sit in a chair in the lobby of the Sheriff’s Department.

It all started in recent years, according to court documents, when Deputy Madrid filed a Hostile Work Environment complaint that accused Sheriff’s Administration of abusive behavior. That complaint was never addressed, but after that Sheriff’s men accused Madrid of incorrectly reporting work hours and taking unwarranted pay of around $382. The arbitrator found that evidence showed that Madrid did not intend to take that money for time off and that other deputies with discrepancies in pay sheets had been informed to correct them – not fired as Madrid was. Judge Garbolino finds that Deputy Madrid’s termination was the result of “retaliation and that Deputy Madrid’s subsequent reassignment to the status of a “greeter” was made solely for the purpose of administering punishment without legal or factual justification.”

Judge Garbolino’s decision recites Madrid’s record as a 12-year Marine and qualified deputy with numerous duties and skills. Said the Judge, “The record supports the conclusion that Deputy Madrid performed his job meeting and exceeding expectations.”

The Judge notes that Sheriff Rick Scholl had called Deputy Madrid back after firing him to make him work as a “greeter” as a form of punishment. The Judge’s decision says there was evidence in the record that “certain Department managers that were looking for an excuse to have Madrid fired were harassing Deputy Madrid.”

In footnotes of his decision, Judge Garbolino tells how Lieutenant O’Hara made comments that his “goal was to fire three deputies, including Jon Madrid.” Madrid filed a workplace harassment claim against O’Hara in 2011, according to the Judge. The complaint went to then Undersheriff Ralph Obenberger. After that, according to the Judge, Madrid was accused of falsifying his payroll records. The Judge also said that Undersheriff Obenberger indicated he would not pursue Madrid’s harassment claim and that it would “go away” if Madrid resigned. The Judge further stated that when the Undersheriff handed Madrid his notice of administrative leave, Madrid asked him again about the harassment claim “to which the Undersheriff replied, ‘How the f—should I know?” This, according to Judge Garbolino, who was quoting court records.

The decision says six months later, Madrid was called back to sit in a chair with no uniform, badge or weapon. The Judge said, “His assigned duties were lesser than those of a WalMart greeter.”

The Judge ruled against Mono County’s petition that tried to assert that the former arbitrator exceeded his scope of jurisdiction and in favor of Deputy Madrid, with a minor difference in back pay. Madrid was also awarded costs and attorneys fees.

In a related matter, former Deputy Madrid has also filed a suit against Mono County in federal court. Reports indicated that Sheriff Obenberger attempted to be removed from that case, but the court denied that request.

, , , , ,

35 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Russ Reese
Russ Reese
8 years ago

Meet and Greet Sheriff OB. Friday March 7th 5:30 PM. Walker Community Center. Then, Sat March 15th 1000-1200. Wheeler Crest Fire Dept. Thse are posted on Facebook

jomama
jomama
8 years ago

As a 31 year law enforcement professional, now retired, I know both deputies and officers nearly all of them solid citizens and excellent professionals. However, there is a fundamental difference between sheriffs and chiefs of police. That is a sheriff is elected and historically sheriff departments across California tend to… Read more »

wagonrd
wagonrd
8 years ago

The Sheriff has held several “Meet and Greet” sessions throughout Mono County, and nary a sight of Disgruntled Citizen, Vote Mono, Really, Lets Be Clear, I Love to Fish, Snowman. And there are more Meet and Greet sessions scheduled. What’s the matter guys? Why not attend and hear answers to… Read more »

Lone ranger
Lone ranger
8 years ago
Reply to  wagonrd

Meet and greet is not a debate! What is this, parent teacher night! There is one coming up I’ll be there!

Vote Mono
Vote Mono
8 years ago
Reply to  wagonrd

I have never heard of any that Obenberger has put on. When were these meet and greets and where?

Why don’t you publish a schedule, so that all can attend?

Leo
Leo
8 years ago
Reply to  Vote Mono

I believe there has been 4 to date with more coming. Go to his website or Facebook page for more information.

Really
Really
8 years ago
Reply to  wagonrd

That is because the sheriff is feared, not respected.

Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane
8 years ago
Reply to  wagonrd

wagonrd, please tell us why Obenberger assigns an on duty seargent to follow and observe Braun at all the RPAC meetings that she attends around the county.

Disgruntled Citizen
Disgruntled Citizen
8 years ago

I am amazed that as all these issues with the Sheriff’s Department reveal themselves, we are not seeing the Sheriff making any responses back to the people. Braun is giving answers and clarifications on issues that are brought up…. Maybe its time for Obenberger and Weber to step down and… Read more »

Really?
Really?
8 years ago

DC, what is so great about Obenberger’s resume? The part where he was a cop for almost 20 years and never got promoted to a position of supervision?

Disgruntled Citizen
Disgruntled Citizen
8 years ago
Reply to  Really?

Really, FTO and OIC are both a supervisory position and a very important training position. OB has been Sgt, Lt, and undersheriff… All of which are supervisory positions. He has worked hard to get where he is, but don’t get me wrong…. He’s done as Sheriff of our community. And… Read more »

Really?
Really?
8 years ago

Anyone with two years on can be an FTO. OIC is by default because there is no sergeant on duty. It is whom ever has senority on the shift. Neither FTO or OIC is something you test for. They are not promotions. Only in Mono County under the Paranick good… Read more »

Disgruntled Citizen
Disgruntled Citizen
8 years ago
Reply to  Really?

Really?.. I never stated that FTO or OIC were promotions… but it is a position of a supervisor over one or more people…whether by default or not. No Department that I have worked for would allow anyone to be able to be an FTO after just 2 years.. so thats… Read more »

Vote Mono
Vote Mono
8 years ago

I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t wait for the debates!!!!

Obenberger you got some splannin’ to do!!!! Lol

How much you want to bet he doesn’t have the rocks to face us all?

Lone ranger
Lone ranger
8 years ago

Are you talking about the sheriffs administration! Lol

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Lone ranger

Whoops! replied to wrong comment.
BK

wagonrd
wagonrd
8 years ago

Good point ” Let’s Be Clear”. I think it’s difficult to get rid of a LT.First of all, he’s not a dummy. It takes a lot of moxey to rise to that position. Secondly, every militaristic organization has a “Hatchet Man” because he takes the heat off the old man.… Read more »

Let's be clear
Let's be clear
8 years ago
Reply to  wagonrd

The fact that you seem to be okay paying your hard earned tax dollars to someone you describe as a “hatchet man” and for a Sheriff’s department you refer to as a “regime” is just plan scary to me. Much less that you expect decent hardworking deputies to work under… Read more »

First Amendment
First Amendment
8 years ago

As of Thursday’s Judge’s ruling Mono County has been removed as a defendant in the First Amendment violation case.

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-caed-2_13-cv-01715/pdf/USCOURTS-caed-2_13-cv-01715-1.pdf

Seems that taxpayers are off the hook? I think it reads that defendants are being name individually, not in their official capacities within/at Mono County.

Mustang Sally
Mustang Sally
8 years ago

Actually, the county not being named as a party in the federal case was simply a clerical error, and the paperwork to amend it has already been submitted. Once it gets filed I’m sure it will be available for everyone to see. Unfortunately for taxpayers, the County will have to… Read more »

wagonrd
wagonrd
8 years ago

Law enforcement, like the military, is a chain of command organization. It is not a democracy. When a subordinate can be insubordinate and get by with it, the agency becomes a social organization where obediance of an order is optional. Sure, most people understand that LT.O’hara had all the leadership… Read more »

Let's be clear
Let's be clear
8 years ago
Reply to  wagonrd

First of all you are correct Lt O’Hara was exactly as you have described. The problem I have with what you said is – who let him conduct himself in the manner that he did? Paranick, Scholl, and Obenberger. He was allowed to do as he pleased because they were… Read more »

I Love To Fish!
I Love To Fish!
8 years ago
Reply to  wagonrd

“Judge Rules against Mono County Sheriff’s Department”

“The MCSO has since become a much more enjoyable workplace. OB is doing a good job.”

Blahh HA HA HA sure sounds like he’s doing a great job. HA HA

JulieT
JulieT
8 years ago

Oh dear, Employment law never was John V’s strong point-one of the problems here is that they all are being directed by their egos and not the law.

Disgruntled Citizen
Disgruntled Citizen
8 years ago

I would like to say that as a local I know many of the deputies that work the county and for the most part all of them do the job that they were hired to do. But, times are changing and the good ‘ole boy department needs to end. I… Read more »

Leo
Leo
8 years ago

WoW, I work for the department and I haven’t got a clue where you came up with that!!! All of the men and women of MCSD do a great job for the county. Most go above and beyond and are involved in the communities on and off duty. “Good ole… Read more »

Snowman
Snowman
8 years ago

” Reports indicated that Sheriff Obenberger attempted to be removed from that case, but the court denied that request.” You can’t make this stuff up! What happened to Madrid took place under Scholl. Obenberger made sure that he would be included in the case when he said in a previous… Read more »

Leo
Leo
8 years ago
Reply to  Snowman

The sheriff at that time made that decision. not Obenberger ..! It was done at the will of that sheriff.!!! I can tell you that over the years Obenberger has done a lot more good for John then people will ever know and that John would be willing to talk… Read more »

Vote Mono
Vote Mono
8 years ago

Yet another perfect example of why we need a new sheriff and administration! We need some actual professional law enforcement officers that conduct themselves as such! They need to be respectful to the citizens, employees and how about to the board of supervisors that hired them! That isn’t what we… Read more »

Joe Citizen
Joe Citizen
8 years ago
Reply to  Vote Mono

It’s sad and pathetic how the mistakes of one or more Deputies makes you think that they should all be labeled as bad. How many of the Mono County Sheriff’s deputies have you met? Apparently all of them since you are labeling them all as unprofessional who don’t respect anyone.… Read more »

Gistine
Gistine
8 years ago
Reply to  Joe Citizen

Joe, I agree with you. My neighbor is a deputy and he is as solid as they come. Another friend of mine who is a deputy has a heart of gold and genuinely believes he is fighting the good fight. I do not let one (or maybe a few) bad… Read more »

Curious
Curious
8 years ago

What are the odds that Dick Luman was also railroaded by Mono County ?

Way to hang in there Deputy Madrid !

Rick O'Brien
Rick O'Brien
8 years ago

Another HUGE nail in Ralphy’s coffin…countdown till June, tic,tic,tic!

Gistine
Gistine
8 years ago

I’m willing to bet there’s plenty more where this came from. It appears the chickens are coming home to roost.

Way to uphold justice and fairness, Judge Garbolino. 🙂

Heather
Heather
8 years ago

Benett, is there any way to find out exactly how much all this is costing the taxpayers of Mono County? Not necessarily the back pay award, as salary is salary, but the law firm Mono Country hired to file the writ had to be expensive, and I imagine the county… Read more »