Luman case pending in Mono Court

mono_courthouse_10-08.jpgDick 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.



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15 Responses to Luman case pending in Mono Court

  1. Dingo April 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    BK, any idea on how much this is this costing us taxpayers?

    • Benett Kessler April 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

      I don’t know. Will see if I can find out. The costs may not be line-itemed re: Luman but rather time spent by the County Counsel, witnesses, etc.

      • Dingo April 27, 2013 at 7:30 am #

        Well, if County government operates anything like State and Federal government its no wonder why they are in a financial hole.

        • Desert Tortoise April 29, 2013 at 8:43 am #

          And I suppose that is a good enough reason to keep an employee who resorts to violence or threats of violence?

  2. John April 26, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Katie Bellomo is probably right alleging prejudicial abuse of discretion and failure to grant a fair hearing.
    I went in front of a hearing panel in Bridgeport regarding the use of my property and the right to know who my accuser was. The hearing officer was named Bill Waite. When I walked into the room, the first thing that came out of his mouth was “You’re just like Saddam Hussein aren’t you?”
    I don’t believe that I received a fair hearing either.

  3. Curious April 26, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    I am really wondering how this all works….. they uphold Luman’s firing even though he wasn’t the aggressor just because the appeals board wanted to. They gave the true agressor his job back with a 30 days suspension! (yeah right!)

    Now they won’t go by the appeals board hearing findings for Deputy Madrid just because they were ruled against and the just don’t want to.

    How ridiculous is this county???

    They waste tons of taxpayer’s money without a care just because they won’t do the right thing. Anybody care to add up how much money these shenigans by the county have cost the taxpayers? I would love to hear a number. I am also sure there are tons more we don’t even know about.

    Why does the BOS let this continue???

    • Curios 2 April 27, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      How many of them cut their teeth in Mammoth politics?

      • Definition please April 28, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

        Please define “Mammoth politics” and how you believe it differs from say, Bishop politics?

        Thanks in advance.

        • Curios 2 April 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

          “Politics” is derived from the words “poly” meaning “many”, and “tics” meaning “blood-sucking parasites.”

          Mammoth has a large population of property owners that are taxed but can’t vote on local issues. That money continues to be syphoned off to enrich a few businessman while the town falls apart at the seams.

          You’re Welcome

          • Tim April 28, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

            I like that; it reminds me of pre-judice.

          • Big AL April 28, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

            LOL Curious

    • Desert Tortoise April 29, 2013 at 8:48 am #

      How do you know Mr. Luman wasn’t the aggressor? What specific insight do you have to back that claim? Is that not something for the Superior Court to determine? Maybe we should just close the courts and consult you on everything? The new Oracle of the Owens Valley?

      • Benett Kessler April 29, 2013 at 9:11 am #

        Hearing testimony revealed that Mr. Luman was not the aggressor, and the Appeals Board did not find that either. They pointed to what two out of the three thought were verbal threats.
        Benett Kessler

        • Desert Tortoise April 29, 2013 at 10:33 am #

          Verbal threats are not aggression and grounds for dismissal? It’s a funny thing, most of the US complains that it is impossible to fire a government worker, but when one is fired, for making threatening remarks no less, people complain about the employee’s firing. I think some people just like to complain.

  4. Big Rick OBrien April 26, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    The longer they drag this out, the more back-pay he’ gonna have coming. Time is money.


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