Inyo/Mono Supervisors: employee issues, new hires and a Forest report

MONO COURTHOUSERichard Luman was fired by Mono County after working 15 years as a mechanic in the Road Department.  He has appealed his termination.  That appeal hearing has grown into a longer than expected process.  To protect her client from the burden of no income, attorney Katie Bellomo has asked the Mono Supervisors to temporarily re-instate Luman and place him on paid administrative leave until his appeal is decided. That item was on Tuesday’s Mono Supervisors’ agenda.

Luman has alleged that his supervisor assaulted him and had created a hostile work environment over a period of time.  Although eye witnesses to the fight initially said the supervisor was the aggressor, one out of three witnesses changed his story in an investigation ordered by Mono County Risk Management.  Rita Sherman, head of Risk Management, delivered that report to the Sheriff’s Office, causing a completed report by a Sheriff’s Deputy to be re-opened.  Luman’s appeal hearing was continued until June.

inyocourthouseIn other agenda matters, Inyo Forest Supervisor Ed Armenta was scheduled to speak to the Board on 2012 budget and staffing, the upcoming Forest Plan Revision, Reds Meadow, the Mammoth Mountain Land Exchange and Digital 395.

At the Inyo Supervisors meeting Tuesday, the Board will meet new Deputy District Attorney Kevin Christensen.  The vacancy he fills was created when District Attorney Art Maillet fired his assistant, Will Richmond, who went to court to fight his termination.  A decision in that case is now pending.

Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carunchio wants approval for the hiring of a Deputy County Administrator at the pay range of $6,370 to $7,740 per month.  The agenda item speaks of an open recruitment for this position.

In a closed session, the Inyo Supervisors will evaluate the Director of Health and Human Services and give instructions on wage and benefit negotiations with six employee groups.

, , , ,

37 Responses to Inyo/Mono Supervisors: employee issues, new hires and a Forest report

  1. Lone Ranger May 14, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    If Mr. Obenberger had any connection to the investigation of the Luman-McCurry fight, he should excuse himself from the panel. Almost like selecting a juror who has a vested interest in convicting somebody!

    Would you want him sitting on a jury if you were in Luman’s position?

  2. Embarassed May 11, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Must be a lawyer, with all the evading and avoiding all questions……Just Saying!

    Bravo “Latest”!

  3. The Latest May 11, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    I am apparently the LONE RANGER…Kemosabe! “leading the fight for law and order” . Yes I said LAW.

    Once again…

    Does an employer have any obligation to investigate or to intervene when there is a Hostile Work Complaint?

    • Wild, Wild, West May 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

      Please be more specific re: “a Hostile Work Complaint”

      And please – no conspiracy theories, just facts.
      Who did what to whom. What happened. Who can support the complaint.

  4. Wild, Wild, West May 11, 2012 at 6:41 am #

    Personal attacks?
    Catchy little phrases?
    Personal level?
    How many times did you take the bar exam?

    Just who are you really, “Latest”?

  5. The Latest May 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    http://WWW……As retired law enforcement, I have worked with many fine public agencies from Fire to Courts to Public Works and seldom ever found problems. I think most county employees do a honest and fair job, and earn their pay.

    I have ignored your innuendos and personal attacks which I realize is your way of evading my question. Repeatedly I have asked…Does an employer (Mono County) have any obligation to investigate or to intervene when there is a Hostile Work Complaint? You chose to throw more of those catchy little phrases.or change the subject onto a personal level.
    Now will you do us the honor of answering this question? How many times did you take the bar exam?

  6. upthecreek May 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    Here is your list

    1) They are GOOD for NOTHING

    2) refer to #1


  7. Wild, Wild, West May 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Still waiting for “Latest” to produce some sort of list of those he/she believes are good examples of what local government (and not elected officials – the at-will people) employees of the county are doing for the people.

    What’s that about “hell freezing over …


  8. The Latest May 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    Great arguments counselor but your post fails to address an employer’s obligation to investigate or to intervene when there is a Hostile Work Complaint. There lies the problem and not whether the men got in a fight and got fired. Could the fight have been prevented?

  9. Embarassed May 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    Wow, Wild Wild West seems to have a nerve hit with the County Counsel comment, sure seems defensive! Could it be a Davis Attorney? I bet so! Seems pretty obvious to me!

    • Wild, Wild, West May 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

      More straw man nonsense from another angry Anti – _______.

      Right, “Embarassed”?

  10. Just the facts May 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    MANY OLDER WORKERS in predominantly male occupations remember a time when fighting on the job was relatively common and discipline was often light. Today, organizations are far less tolerant, and many have adopted zero-tolerance policies for fighting or violence of any kind — including threats.

    Stewards defending grievants against discipline for fighting or acts of violence have an uphill battle. With two million cases of workplace violence in the United States each year, resulting in 800 homicides, employers and even your own members are likely to demand a workplace free of any hint of violence. We’ve all read those terrible headlines, and we don’t want to be in one of them ourselves.

    Protecting your members means ensuring they are not disciplined unfairly, but it might also mean finding a way to protect them from someone with anger issues.

    Zero-tolerance policies

    MANY COMPANIES HAVE zero-tolerance policies for fighting and other acts of violence. How you defend a grievant faced with dismissal under any zero-tolerance policy is affected by whether the policy was imposed by the company or negotiated through collective bargaining.

    Arbitrators generally hold companies to a higher standard on policies that have been unilaterally imposed. Look for evidence that the company has treated this grievant differently from grievants in similar cases in the past. The definition of a fight might vary from one supervisor to the next.

    Also consider the thoroughness of their investigation. The understandable desire to remove a potentially violent person from the workplace may influence management to act hastily. Hold them to a high standard. Dismissal is a serious matter. They need unequivocal evidence of both the action, and the seriousness of the action.

    Often a grievant will argue that he wasn’t being violent, he was only engaging in horseplay. The test you need to apply is not the grievant’s intentions, but how the act was perceived and whether it actually caused harm or had the potential to cause harm. Tossing a plastic bottle at a co-worker to get him wet is probably not going to cause harm, but a glass bottle might.

    When playing around, people often underestimate how dangerous their actions are or how they might be perceived by the person on the other end.

  11. The Latest May 10, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    Was the “job training” after complaints came up? If so, that would be a form of intervention and a good call.

    As for my “attack”…..somebody is not coming forth with information and that is not right. That somebody should be somebody from County Counsel’s office. Right? I do get frustrated when people seem to be avoiding the questions or not responding. Mono County is owned by the public and the taxpayers have a right to know if everything is being run correctly.

    The law is the law…..and if Mono County has followed the law then there should not be a problem. Am I right?

    • Wild, Wild, West May 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

      A straw man is a component of an argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position.To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.

      It seems to me “Latest” (as per many angry Tea Party-sounding types) like to rely on Straw man after Straw Man to support their hatred for all things governmental today.

  12. Wild, Wild, West May 10, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    No mistake “Latest.” Those two boys-will-be-boys got fired for fighting on the job. This was after getting on the job training designed to assist in dealing with personal bad-feelings towards each other when they come up. They both chose to ignore the whole training.

    Now since you now want to attack the County Counsel (anybody else?) why don’t you provide a list of those in authority in the county that you believe are worth … anything?

  13. The Latest May 10, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    I suggest you speak to Mr. Vallejo ……instead of Rudolph.

    • Benett Kessler May 10, 2012 at 10:49 am #

      I did speak with Mr. Vallejo. He said he knew nothing about a federal case but did refer me to Mr. Rudolph.

  14. The Latest May 10, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    Kessler: I know that Mono was served with a “Notice of Intent to Sue”, and have no idea why Mr Rudolph is unaware of it. Maybe it does not involve Mr. Luman or McCurry but I heard it involves “Hostile Work Environment”.

    • Benett Kessler May 10, 2012 at 10:50 am #

      Rudolph denies receiving a notice of intent to sue. BK

  15. The Latest May 10, 2012 at 9:05 am #

    My mistake…. I thought this involved a fight at work and not in the local pub!

    Oh…speaking of idle minds. Maybe the County Counsel could explain “Hostile Work Environment” to us and the county supervisors, or maybe he doesn’t know what that might involve.

  16. Wild, Wild, West May 10, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    We all know there’s not much to do in Bridgeport.

    “The idle mind is the Devil’s playground.”

    Perhaps these grown men have been watching too many Clint Eastwood Westerns.
    Maybe a hobby or a some good reading materials would do wonders for them.

  17. Badfinger May 10, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    The same Goog-Ol-boy… politics goes on here in INYO County too, only difference is that They exert more controle over the local media 🙁

  18. The Latest May 9, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    What does the fight between the two men have to do with Mono County allowing a hostile work environment? Maybe the fight could have been avoided if there had been some intervention by the county. Are you saying that no complaints were made by the employees prior to the fight? Now that would be news!

    Bottom line is the law applies equally to Mono County and every other employer? If you disagree with the law, get it repealed.

    • Benett Kessler May 10, 2012 at 8:02 am #

      Mr. Luman had earlier said that complaints were made and that the day the fight took place he and others were meeting with a superior about the Road Supervisor, Brett McCurry’s “aggressiveness and bullying”.
      Benett Kessler

  19. What the ...? May 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    “The Latest” must not be aware that one of the violent miscreants fired acted like a man, took full responsibilty for his violent behavior, and chose not to pursue any foolish litigation and has moved on.

    “Latest’s” angry-sounding demeanor would suggest his “middle of the road news source” is most likely The Rush Limbaugh Show, Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter.

    Thanks, but I’ll trust the Public Broadcasting Network anytime.

    • sarah May 12, 2012 at 10:05 am #

      Don’t think “Latest’s” post said that or anything like that. Just because he/she doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean they are conservative. Not that there’s anything wrong with being conservative by the way. Just like there’s nothing wrong with being liberal. Narrow-mindedness? Well, there might be something wrong with that.

  20. The Latest May 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    Tell me exactly is right about any employer who fails to protect their employees from a hostile work environment and has knowledge of it They deserve to be sued. I guess incompentence is Ok with “Mr. What the ?”.

    Oh yea….PBS….now there is a real middle of the road news source.

  21. What the ...? May 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    An employee signs a contract understanding there is an intolerance towards violence in the workplace. He ignores the contract he signed and commits violence in the workplace.
    He gets fired for breach of contract.
    And the “Down with Government!” movement goes ballistic, goes on the attack against every person in an authority position, comes up with conspiracy theory after conspiracy and still does not get it.

  22. Embarassed May 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    I agree with an “A girl in the know” from what I have seen these people are highly unprofessional and an embarrassment to our County. We already have enough problems with the whole MLLA situation and now we are going pay for the County Administrations incompetence too? Just ridiculous….. They should be ashamed of themselves and really take a long look in the mirror at themselves and their actions. It is a shame that we have to put up with public officials that are so vindictive and all have their own personal agenda. This really makes you wonder what else is being hidden from the public eye!

    • Wild, Wild, West May 10, 2012 at 8:47 am #

      “… these people are highly unprofessional and an embarrassment to our County” says “Embarassed” above.

      He/She must be referring to two grown men acting like low-life bad guys in the western movies beating on each other. Both had on-the-job training about prohibiting these actions Yet they arrogantly and childishly ignored the training.

      Unprofessional? Certainly.
      Embarrassment? Of course. (unless you are living in the good ol’ rootin’ – tootin days of the wild, wild west)

  23. what the ...? May 9, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    Just yesterday, a group of social scientists on PBS radio commented on what is happening in America with the extremists political movements. They said,
    “It’s worse than it looks.”

  24. The Latest May 8, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    My apologies……I posted incorrect information and Mr. Rudolph lawyered me. Mono was not served an actual lawsuit, but they were served a “Notice of Intent to Sue”. It must contain a statement of facts for a lawsuit, and yes Mr. Rudolph, there is a 60 day period to negoiate a resolution. Does Mono County have insurance or are they self insured?

    Now I am really interested in how many federal lawsuits is the county involved in? And will Mr. Rudolph provide any details of the “Notice of Intent”?

    Mr.”What the”…. your post just isnt worth a response.

    • Benett Kessler May 10, 2012 at 8:59 am #

      The Latest, I spoke again with Mr. Rudolph and there has been no “notice of intent to sue” nor is there such a document required.
      Benett Kessler

  25. what the ...? May 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm #


    Try and walk away from the Tea Party Syndrome.
    Then turn off Fox and Limbaugh.
    You may feel a lot less grumpy.

    Anti-authoritarianism is opposition to authoritarianism, which is defined as a “a form of social organisation characterised by submission to authority. Anti-authoritarians usually believe in full equality before the law and strong civil liberties. Sometimes the term is used interchangeably with anarchism, an ideology which rejects the state and other compulsory forms of hierarchical authority altogether.

    After World War II there was a strong sense of anti-authoritarianism based on anti-fascism in Europe. This was attributed to the active resistance from occupation and to fears arising from the development of superpowers.

    The far-right hate-mongers whose leaders Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter are making millions with their button-pushing extremist views.

  26. The Latest May 8, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    I just heard that Mono County was served papers listing them as the defendants in a federal lawsuit yesterday. I wonder why?

    • Benett Kessler May 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

      I spoke with Mono County Counsel Marshall Rudolph who said Mono County, thus far, has not been served with a federal lawsuit in the last couple of weeks. Benett Kessler

  27. Girl In The Know May 8, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Oh I love this….. since when does Risk Management dictate reopening of a sheriffs completed report???? I can tell you when… when you realize that the Hostile Workplace complaint that was filed and not addressed by Rita Sherman or the county is going to cost the county plenty of money…. you just knock on Undersheriff Obenerger and Lieutenant Weber’s door and ask for the good ole boy favor and bam it happens… Amazingly it happens to protect Lieutenant Weber’s personal friend Brett McCurry. I am sure he didn’t have any problem ORDERING Mark Hanson to go back and do not just one supplemental report, but a second supplemental report….. Guess the second one didn’t get the line that Weber really wanted to see on it….. Read the Third report people and see what that line is…… Just what Mrs. Sherman wanted to hear to protect her job because she didn’t take care of her business.

    What a joke this whole thing is. Every one of these Management people do not deserve the position that they hold and could never make it in a real sheriff’s department or a county where there was some real guidelines and policies that had to be followed….. These people do what ever they want and continually harass anyone that resists their Good Ole Boy ways…

    I think every one of these people should be reviewed by a Grand Jury from CAO, Sheriff, Undersheriff, Rita Sherman and Lieutenant Webber,,,, the former Lieutenant O’Hara also. These people parade around like they are helping Mono County when truly all they are doing is increasing the liability for us tax payers… I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my tax dollars to be spent on the multiple lawsuits that will follow all the poor management decisions that these power hungry leaches display daily.

    Pay attention people it is the same names…. over and over. When will someone do something about this? I have been watching and reading very carefully and boy have I had my eyes opened to the “Mono County Antics”


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.