Brief comment from deputy county counsel on personnel controversy

Some observers of an on-the-job fight in Mono County Public Works that led to two firings and then two appeal hearings call it a case of “he said, he said.” One man got his job back, the other did not. Lawyers on either side see things differently. So do eye witnesses.

Katie Bellomo represented Dick Luman, a 15-year county mechanic. She says her client did nothing wrong and did not get a fair shake. She said McCurry attacked Luman. One witness in the same room agreed, another did not. Bellomo points to the “good old boy” system and said Luman was the fall guy.

We contacted Deputy Mono County Counsel John Vallejo, who had declined to comment during both appeal hearings. Asked for his side of the story more recently, Vallejo said, “It’s not appropriate to comment on an ongoing personnel matter.” He did add that “the County put on a very consistent case.”

After Luman lost his appeal based on the allegation that he made a verbal threat to McCurry, who was one of his supervisors, Bellomo said she believed the “fix was in.” She pointed to the Personnel Appeal Board for McCurry that she said had two of his friends on it.

Vallejo points to the personnel rules which county government does not control, he said. The rules allow the Union to pick one member of the Personnel Appeal Board, the County picks one and then there is a coin toss to pick the third. The Union won the coin toss. Jerry Frederick, the Union representative, has not returned our calls.

Beyond that, Vallejo said, “The record speaks for itself.” Luman had said that McCurry attacked and injured him during a meeting to discuss McCurry’s “aggressiveness and bullying.” Part of the audio questioning of Luman on the record seems to show him changing his story. In one interview Luman said he pushed McCurry back and he hit a tool cabinet. In another interview Luman said that he himself ended up on a tool bin, pinned by McCurry.

Another employee, Jim Kerby, was suspended by Mono County for allegedly lying about what he saw happen between Luman and McCurry. Kerby, who was in the room during the incident, had testified that McCurry grabbed Luman and pushed him.

Why did the Appeal Board re-instate McCurry? Vallejo said the details of the hearing were in closed session, and he could not comment. Luman’s Appeal Board had fallen short of accusing McCurry of creating a hostile work environment. They did say the County should have acted sooner to address McCurry’s “inappropriate conduct in the workplace.”


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5 Responses to Brief comment from deputy county counsel on personnel controversy

  1. Scholl Bowl September 4, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    Oh please this man is ridiculous “the county put on a very consistent case” there was only one witness called to the stand at McCurry’s hearing from what I heard. How is that consistent? That is the county only hearing the part they want to hear and rewarding a Supervisor for harassing his employee’s! That is the Mono County Agenda. God forbid you stand up for right or wrong!

    I love how Arken’s tries to hide the agenda by saying he recommended they both be fired when knows that the county manipulated this whole fiasco!

    • a new generation September 6, 2012 at 8:20 am #

      There are no opportunities whatsoever to make a living in Bridgeport other than working for the County. We all know this. It’s a generational thing. One generation after another knows the stifled job situation in Big Meadow. Some young person living in Bridgeport, would love to have the opportunity and knows that redneck behavior (grizzly old men beating on each other) will not be tolerated. As it should be.
      Too many people – not enough jobs.

  2. Lone Ranger September 5, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    Sounds like a double standard to me……If you are considered expendable, they create a panel to dump you but if you are on the good guy list then you get a PASS! God forbid that the employees are treated fairly and equally.

    I feel sorry for Luman….somebody had their crosshairs on him and he got gunned down. What happened to boys being boys. Oh yea…..McCurry was wearing a white hat.

    Now the question is “Which dose of fairness will Mr. Kerby get?” I am guessing both Luman and Kerby filed “Hostile Work Environment” complaints and somebody is trying to make a point. You file them and we will get you.

  3. just one September 5, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    The article above states that the County said they should have acted sooner to address McCurry’s inappropriate conduct in the workplace. To me that says it all right there. The county was aware and did nothing and then when things got out of hand, the county back pedaled and claimed McCurry was not at fault. you just admitted he was. if you have a supervisor brow beating their staff, the stress leval alone will cause things to happen. The county was fully aware and DID NOTHING. per their very own statement. The message this sends is you had better keep your mouth shut because no matter what your supervisor/dept.head or any one above you does, if you step up YOU WILL BE FIRED. if you question, YOU WILL BE FIRED. Where is Robin Hood when you need him?

    • Friar Tuck September 5, 2012 at 11:34 am #

      Robin Hood said he is waiting for you to set up a fund for Mr. Luman and he’ll contribute like he did the fund for the bullied school bus monitor a few months back. An early retirement fund while awaiting the lawsuit settlement judgement would be in the best interest of justus for Mr. Luman.


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