Dick Luman worked as a mechanic in the Mono County Road Department for 15 years. In late 2011 he was fired for an alleged physical fight with a road operations supervisor. He appealed in an open hearing. The Personnel Appeals Board upheld his firing on the grounds that he supposedly “threatened” the supervisor but did not assault him. Luman’s Attorney Katie Bellomo filed an administrative writ for reinstatement. Yesterday the Mono Supervisors talked about this case with their lawyer in a closed session.
Attorney Bellomo said she believed the closed session was held to discuss the status of the case. She said the Petition for a Writ filed in Mono Superior Court asked for a review of the Personnel Board decision. The possible outcomes include denial of the petition and upholding the Personnel Board decision, to order that Luman be given a new hearing, or to order his reinstatement. Bellomo said it will likely be a few months at least before the case is ready for the judge to issue a decision.
During the appeal hearing, Bellomo had alleged conflicts of interest among appeal board members, who included Sheriff Ralph Obenberger, County employee Ken Goode and Supervisor Tim Hansen, who filed a dissenting opinion. Hansen said remarks Luman may have made to his supervisor did not cause the situation to rise to the level of termination.
The petition filed on Dick Luman’s behalf accuses the County and others of “prejudicial abuse of discretion” and failure to grant Luman a fair hearing. The document basically says the appeals board upheld Luman’s firing because he made a wisecrack to his supervisor, Brett McCurry, who was initially fired and then reinstated. The petition says Luman lost wages, benefits, retirement contributions and the right to public employment.
The petition asks that Luman be reinstated with all pay, benefits, seniority and other considerations.