Luman wins Mono County job back

mono_courthouse_10-08.jpgMono County lost another employee termination case. Judge Stan Eller has issued a decision in the case of Dick Luman, former Road Department mechanic. Judge Eller ordered the County Personnel Appeals Board decision to uphold Luman’s termination vacated. He ordered Mono County to reinstate Luman with all pay, benefits, seniority and more.

Judge Eller’s order also provides Luman with a new penalty hearing that would result in something less than termination. Luman was originally accused by the County of being in a physical fight with his Road Department Supervisor. The Appeals Board found, instead, that he had made threatening statements to that man, Brett McCurry. They upheld his termination. Judge Eller did not.

The Judge’s order says that Luman is due back pay from the time of his termination in December 2011 until his reinstatement. The order says if a penalty is imposed on Luman for his statements made to McCurry, the amount should be deducted from his back pay. Luman will also get interest on the money owed him at the “full legal rate.” The Judge also ordered that the County remove all documentation relating to the disciplinary action of termination and “refrain from using this information in any way adverse to Luman in his future employment with Mono County.”

The Judge’s decision points out that Dick Luman had worked for Mono County for many years with no prior history of any discipline and was characterized as responsible, capable and trustworthy. He was promoted to the highest level in his job classification. The order says, “There is absolutely no history of violence in the workplace exhibited by” Mr. Luman.

The Judge finds that Luman’s threatening statement was particular to an argument taking place with Mr. McCurry and was an isolated incident. The order also notes that Luman “got the worst of it as he suffered a cracked rib and a hernia requiring surgery.”

Attorney Katie Bellomo, who represented Luman, had also alleged that two Personnel Appeals Board members were biased. She claimed that Ralph Obenberger was biased because his office had investigated the altercation involving Luman and that Ralph Goode was biased because someone close to him was being investigated by the Sheriff’s Department. The Judge did not find that the hearing officers were biased. The Judge also found that the Appeals Board decision was not “arbitrary and capricious” just erroneous. So no attorneys fees were awarded.

The Judge’s conclusion says, “The court determines that the Personnel Appeal Board’s findings that Luman made a threat of violence and provided misleading statements is supported by the weight of the evidence. However,” the decision says, “the most extreme form of penalty, termination of employment, was grossly excessive” in view of the law.

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LMAO
LMAO
8 years ago

I think one of these famous “supplemental reports” need to be done on MCSO by the FBI or the AG!

Citizen Watch
Citizen Watch
8 years ago

I agree with everything Mammothite has to say. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t just question the honesty of the MCSD (at least the administration, not saying all the deputies are) are unethical, dishonest, and are downright criminals with a badge. Their antics are famous around California… Read more »

John
John
8 years ago

This debacle has fallen upon Mono County taxpayers because of an incompetent County Counsel. Mono County taxpayers deserve better.

Mammothite
Mammothite
8 years ago

Mono County now has three strikes against them by three different judges, when we look at the Madrid case, the Boulaalam case and the Luman case. It looks like new leadership is needed as well as a new County Counsel. This may not be over if lawsuits are filed against… Read more »

Wasted Taxpayer money
Wasted Taxpayer money
8 years ago

Good morning Benett, Can you please tell the taxpayers how much they have spent on this case? Seems to me that we are having to dole out tons of money constantly because the administrators in this county have no idea how to handle personnel issues. I do not understand why… Read more »

Deseert Tortoise
Deseert Tortoise
8 years ago

Personnel actions are never conducted in public due to state laws protecting the privacy of employees. That is a boilerplate legal policy of every public agency

I wonder
I wonder
8 years ago

I wonder how much more the county will cut there employees over this mess?? The BOARD needs to look at the upper management. There seem to be big problems there not just the sheriffs department. Did the county hire someone as a hatchet man to get rid of problem employees?

Puzzled
Puzzled
8 years ago

Benett, Can you please tell us who is going to be on the panel to decide what his penalty will be? I certainly hope it isn’t the original panel that Mr. Luman had. That would be very unfair to him. Especially after these last three years and all he has… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Puzzled

The Judge’s order calls for “different members” on the new Personnel Appeal Board to re-visit Mr. Luman’s behavior. BK

Puzzled
Puzzled
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

I guess the comment about “Different members” from the judge speaks volumes, even if he took the politically correct road and did not say it outright! i found this sentance particularly interesting also: The Judge also ordered that the County remove all documentation relating to the disciplinary action of termination… Read more »

Over the Berger
Over the Berger
8 years ago

I am extremely happy that Mr Luman will be getting his job back! It should have never been taken away from him in the first place. That said, I am disappointed that Eller took the Mono County Politically correct route that I knew he would. County protecting County. Same song… Read more »

Thankful
Thankful
8 years ago

I for one am very thankful that Mono County has two very honest and moral Judges, Mark Magit and Stan Eller.

They are clearly not part of the Good ole Boy Club.