Mono County appeal hearing continued

MONO COURTHOUSEThe termination appeal case of a former Mono County Road Department mechanic continues to take twists and turns according to the appellant’s lawyer. The case was briefly back in session last week and continued until June 11th.

Katie Bellomo represents fired mechanic Dick Luman in this open and public appeal hearing.  She said, “There has been one unexpected thing after another.”  Luman claims that Road Supervisor Brett McCurry had created a hostile work environment and then physically assaulted him.  Mono County fired both men, claiming mutual combat.

Two of three eye witnesses to the incident say McCurry was the aggressor.  A Mono Sheriff’s deputy drew the same conclusion but then changed his report when Risk Manager Rita Sherman delivered the County’s Insurance Investigator’s report.  In that document, one of the eye witnesses changed his testimony from not seeing what happened to saying Luman was the aggressor. Bellomo said she finds it unusual for law enforcement to include a County investigation, which is not a neutral analysis.

Since the start of the hearing, Mono County gained permission to present more evidence.  Bellomo said the County Counsel’s office will present a document from the District Attorney who had decided not to prosecute anyone in the Road Department fight.  The closing document on the case listed the incident as mutual combat.  Bellomo disputes this evidence by saying that the DA spoke to just one witness.  Bellomo said DA Investigator Wade McCammond will take the stand again June 11th for more testimony. DA George Booth and Assistant Tim Kendall will also testify.

Another twist in this case – perceived tensions on the appeals board itself. A Mono County employee, Ken Goode, is one of the three appeal hearing board members.  Sources say it was his wife, Cheryl Goode, recently arrested on allegations of misappropriation of funds from the Bridgeport PUD.  The Sheriff’s Department investigated and Undersheriff Ralph Obenberger also sits on the three-person panel.

Attorney Bellomo says Mono County has tried to discredit the eye witnesses in this case.  The County did accuse employee Jim Kirby of perjury when he stated that he saw McCurry assault Luman.  He is appealing.  Brett McCurry is also appealing his firing.

More on the Luman case June 11th.  John Vallejo of the Mono County Counsel’s Office has declined to comment on this personnel case.


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50 Responses to Mono County appeal hearing continued

  1. The way it goes May 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    Just another happy day in Happy Valley.

  2. Enough May 25, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    I notice that we still have not heard anybody denying that Mr. Luman’s filed a hostile work complaint. That tells me that he did! The person responsible for allowing his complaint to go uninvestigated should be terminated. He/She is getting paid to oversee this facet for the county which is required by law. I can only conclude that Mono doesn’t accept hostile work complaints and that leaves letting “Boys be Boys”!

    Hasn’t Luman paid enough of a price for his part in this fiasco? Is he being punished for somebody at the County who failed to do their job? This sounds like a case of the county trying to twist things to suit themselves which smells like coverup for incompetence.

    Mr. Obenberger can proudly proclaim himself as a Mono County Power Player…..he was the police, now a judge and eventually executioner? What is next? Or should I say Who is next to be executed by him.

  3. Nothing to do in Bridgeport May 25, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Katie Bellomo now wants to call in umpteen more witnesses dragging this clearcut case on … forever (who is paying for this?).

    At least the other miscreant involved in the chidish fracus was mature enough to take his medicine like a man and accept his due punishment.

    And, of course we have the conspiracy theorists trying desperately to put the blame on whatever authority figure they can think of.

    • Benett Kessler May 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

      Nothing to do, Not sure what you mean by someone taking “his medicine.” All parties dicsiplined or fired are appealing. BK

    • just one May 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      ALL THREE MEN INVOLVED ARE APPEALING THIER TERMINATION where on earth do you get your information? do you pull it from a hat?

      • Benett Kessler May 25, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

        Is that a rhetorical question? According to County records and attorney statements, Mr. Luman, Jim Kirby and Brett McCurry are appealing their various disciplines. Next time, ask me more politely. Your sarcasm is petty and unnecessary. Also, FYI Luman and McCurry are appealing their terminations. Kirby was disciplined with three months suspension. Benett Kessler

        • just one May 26, 2012 at 7:29 am #

          Bennet, if you were asking me if I was being rhetorical. No and I must have put in the wrong spot cause I was replying with your same information to Nothing to do in Bridgeport. Who obviously doesn’t know that we have plenty to do and that only one of these men live here and the facts that MOST folks wont just lay down and take it if they feel they are wronged. I think you are tops Bennet and I agree with practically everything you do

  4. Just the facts May 25, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    So long as you have the foolish notion of unionized government employees – you are going to have this sort of nonsense.

    • Trouble May 25, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

      Just The Facts- I can’t figure out if you are a Republican or a Democrat. I know you wrongly blasted me, accusing me of being a right winger because I stated my opinion of mule days. I would love to hear who you support to run this country???

      • Just the facts May 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

        Funny how things have become so bizarre today for some, that one must be labled a member of one political party or the other. That’s the black-or-white mentality that has swept the country ever since hate-mongers like Rush Limbaugh have convinced the weaker minds to tune in to his rants 3hours a day, 5 days a week and re-runs on weekends believing communists have taken over America.

        Not to worry. All this extremism will pass and the future (the young people of today) are wise to such B.S. and the crazy Tea Party freaks.

  5. Just the Truth May 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    Mr. “Just the Facts”…. Since you won’t answer any questions, lets see if I can give you some. My apologies for the length of this comment.

    1. Did Mr. Luman file a Hostile Workplace complaint? YES
    2. Did the county investigate it? No
    3. Who is responsible for Hostile Workplace complaints? I am guessing Ms. Sherman.
    4. Did things escalate over time? Yes
    5. Who was the aggressor? Unknown for sure but everything leans towards McCurry.
    6. Did both parties deserve punishment? Yes
    7. Does either party have a history of past problems or a history of fighting? Unknown
    8. Did both parties deserve to be terminated? No
    9. Why was there multiple investigation reports? Unknown – but Luman was the person who filed the complaint that did not get investigated.
    10. Who requested supplemental investigations? Ms. Sherman
    11. Who did she talk to at the Sheriff’s office? Unknown
    12. How were the hearing panel members selected? My understanding is one is slected by the county, one by Luman and one by mutual agreement of the two selected members.
    13. Who selected Mr. Obenberger? Mono County
    14. Who was the person at the county that selected Mr. Obenberger? Unknown – But could it have been Ms. Sherman?
    15. What law covers “Hostile Workplace”? Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).
    Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance. The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, an agent of the employer, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
    16. Lastly, what does the union have to do with this incident? Not much as it is federal law.

  6. Union Buster May 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    Dear Just the facts,

    These public employees are simply exercising their right to appeal under the CA Government code. This has nothing to do with a union. In fact county mechanics are represented under the “Miscellaneous Public Employees” bargaining unit. They have no power. The county in the end has the final say on employment contracts. Perhaps you should research the CA government code before continuing to put your foot in your mouth. Mono County does not have unions!

  7. LOCAL 39, AFL-CIO, May 25, 2012 at 5:09 pm #


    A. Parties

    The parties to this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) are: the County of Mono, acting by and through the Mono County Board of Supervisors; and, the International Union of Operating Engineers, Stationary Local 39, AFL-CIO, which is the majority representative of the employee bargaining unit known as the Mono County Public Employees (MCPE).

  8. jose chavez May 25, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    thank goodness for free speech….you guys dont have anything better to do up in the sierras than to bash each other…..there are far more important issues to be addressed…..

    • Trouble May 26, 2012 at 9:33 am #

      I have plenty of time to bash on flat landers . Just practicing my free speech.

      • Rob May 28, 2012 at 6:50 am #

        hey Trouble – Everyone in the lower 48 is a flat lander. Especially when you rely on first responders and public transportation.

        If you’re not sourdough, you’re a flat lander.

        • Wayne Deja May 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

          Rob…AND we can’t see Russia from our front window….

        • Trouble May 29, 2012 at 7:03 am #

          I was just mouthing off Rob.

          • Rob May 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

            Good job Trouble, keep it up.

            I’ll be in Ak next month. My buddy makes sure everyone knows I’m from California, he’s always laughing when he says it too.

  9. Rabid Right May 26, 2012 at 6:31 am #

    A prime example of typical Tea Party – sounding nastiness:

    “You put your foot in your mouth!”
    and …

    “There are no unions in Mono County!”

    This is the kind of ignorance and divisive far-right nonsense that is polarizing the entire country and find their way onto blogs such as these. While the talk-radio pundits and
    “I hate Liberals!”authors laugh all the the way to their banks.

    • Dave May 26, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

      “Rabid right” akc “Just the facts” aka “Polarized america” aka… Your public display of ignorance cannot hide behind monikers. You stand out like a stinky gym sock.

  10. Rabid Right (cont) May 26, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    Why do you suppose the Union is NOT representing (paying for) the defense of Luman?

    Bellomo would like to subpoena the entire county if they let her, dragging this thing on forever repeating testimonies, etc. …

  11. Get back on subject!~~ May 26, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    This Union stuff is totally off track. Don’t you care about another human being being unjustly terminated? If you know something that would repute “Just the Truth” above….spit it out! We would love to hear it.

    • the way I see it May 27, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

      Grown men acting out their bad-ass, red-neck fantasies with violence has no place in society NOR the workplace.

      Unjustly terminated? Not in any civilized society I know of.

      • Think Before Writing May 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

        Oh, so you were there?????

  12. Just the Truth May 26, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Which is it? Mr. Luman shouldn’t get a hearing because he is a union member OR he shouldn’t get a hearing because the union is not representing Him? Am I missing something? Oh yea…you don’t think employees shouldn’t be entitled to a hearing! I keep forgetting your point.

    Are you afraid of what people might learn or hear? Could it be that you are afraid of what Ms. Sherman and Mr. Obenberger might have to say or explain?

    The next round is June 11th…right? Maybe Mr. Obenberger should recuse himself now before the cat gets out of the bag! Birds of a feather!

  13. That'll learn ya May 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    …and if you ever THINK of firing a union employee again, you’ll see a trial that will go on for a decade or longer all at the taxpayer’s expense.

    Solidarity! Solidarity! Solidarity!

  14. Ya Think May 28, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    Mono County gets what they deserve if they don’t follow proper procedures or the law. This whole thing has gotten bogged down with the County changing the rules, and trying to change the rules in the 4th Quarter when it appears that they aren’t going to prevail.

    Grown men/women make mistakes….Have you?

    Do Ms. Sherman, Mr. Oberman, Mr. Arken, Mr. Vallejo or Mr. Rudolph have the same right to appeal when they are terminated? hmmmmmm …..

    • Just the facts May 28, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

      As a matter of fact, At-Will employees do NOT have the same right.

  15. Lone Ranger May 30, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Management (“At Will”) are paid the big bucks to make good decisions for the county and to insure they follow the law. Isn’t too much to ask…….

  16. Just the facts May 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    “Isn’t too much to ask …..” (continued) that those under their employ act in a responsible and non-violent manner in the workplace and not turn to violence on the job and expect everyone to turn the other cheek when they beat on each other like low-life rednecked individuals and ignore employment contract they signed upon their hiring regarding such matters.

  17. Just the facts May 31, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    With so much violent behavior and angst-ridden, red-neck political groups out there today, I personally have no problem with Mono County having a zero tolerance policy for violence at the workplace.

  18. Proof Please May 31, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    I’m waiting to see some evidence of the county “changing the rules”in this case as “Ya think” is trying so desperately to prove.

    It seems to me Bellamo is running out of conspiracy theories against the county and its procedures and policies.

  19. Lone Ranger May 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    You must have missed the previous article by Benett Kessler and I won’t waste the time copying it.

    It is obvious that you do not feel that Mono County has any responsibility to investigate Hostile Workplace complaints, so they must be exempt from the law…… This article might reflect a different opinion “Jury awards $324,775 to victim of unlawful termination and hostile work environment ”

    There are Federal Laws!

    • Tonto June 2, 2012 at 10:05 am #

      There can only be one reason Ms. Bellamo is trying desperately to drag this case on and on, subpoena everyone under the sun (County Supervisors included), repeat the same message she has been repeating day after day, and wasting valuable time and taxpayers’ money is simple – She hasn’t got a case. So, why not go for the big bucks?
      If a county supervisor enforces their right to terminate a violent person(s) and the perps become hostile over this – Presto! this is now construed as a “hostile work environment.” If the council rules in her favor, its’ off to the next step in the process – (as Lone Ranger puts it) “Jury awards mega-bucks to victim of unlawful termination and hostile work environment.” What does she have to lose? A third of the award (as is customary for attorney fees)?

      • Benett Kessler June 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

        Please consider that legal and administrative processes are in place to help discover the truth when problems arise. There are eye witnesses to the alleged crime and to an alleged history of hostile situations. Why not allow the process to move forward and reveal to us the best truth discoverable, even if it goes on to another level. America does offer protections to its citizens. That makes our country different. Let’s not make assumptions based on prejudice. If you have evidence in this case, why not step forward? Benett Kessler

        • Just the facts June 2, 2012 at 6:28 pm #


          More thumbs down than thumbs up, Benett.

          This can only mean your posting is unacceptable by the tabulation (wink).
          Based on the anti-government/anti-authority posters on this particular subject and others, it would seem that there are some that simply will not be appeased (or enlightened) when it comes to a government official and their duties … and that as they say, is that.

          Now watch for the usual “this guy is polarizing everything” angry comments.
          This, sadly, is the way of today’s neoconservative movement. An outspoken hatred for those in authority.

  20. Proof please June 1, 2012 at 5:46 am #

    Today in America everything is contractual. Otherwise it would be like a fascist state.

    Employees sign and date their employment contract that states they agree fully with the policy of zero tolerance of violence in the workplace. (a good policy if you ask me – this isn’t the wild, wild west).
    Nobody forced them to sign and date the contract.

  21. Lone Ranger June 1, 2012 at 6:37 am #

    Violence in the workplace should not be tolerated anywhere, but should an employer try to intervene if they are aware of a problem? Evidently NOT in Mono County.

    Following “Just the Facts” logic….. The sheriff or police shouldn’t investigate a person who makes a threat because they haven’t committed MURDER. NOW who’s whacky!

    We can also assume that there are no laws related to sexual harrassment, discrimination, bullying etc in Mono County!

    • Just the facts June 1, 2012 at 10:33 am #

      It seems to me there are those refusing to take any responsibilty for violating the county employment contract (with a zero tolerance for violence in the workplace), and now are childishly whining (about their violent behavior on public grounds) “The Devil made me do it!” Translation: Why didn’t anybody (my supervisor) try to stop me!”
      That’s the same as a supervisor firing a person (before the fact) for what they might do, or a police officer arresting a person for a crime they might commit.

      I wonder what universe this sort of logic comes from?

  22. Tonto June 1, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    Certainly getting into a brawl on government property after knowingly signing and dating an employment contract agrreeing to abide by this, then wanting to get rich over the incident is not outside the realm of possiblity, Lone Ranger.

    As sleazly as that is.

    Thankfully most At-Will and Union employees honor the contracts they sign, stay out of trouble on the job and are a benefit to society – Kemosabee

  23. Just the facts June 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    Although collective bargaining by government employee unions may offend one’s sense of justice, what’s truly unacceptable is government labor’s stranglehold over the local, state, and federal governments with which they bargain.

    Even here in deep-blue California, an intrepid state legislator is introducing a bill designed to prevent government employee unions from bargaining for pension benefits. “I stand with the legislators in the Midwest who are taking brave steps to stand with the citizens,” State Assemblyman Allan Mansoor told the San Jose Mercury News. “It’s very hard to rein things in under the current process. Pensions are out of control. They have to be brought back in line with the private sector.”

    There are many stories that are easily accessed on the Web re: How government employee unions have a stranglehold on California making it nearly impossible to terminate a union employee.

    The question may be asked: Where is the solidarity of the other Bridgeport-based county employees who are union members (all of them), and why have they not walked off the job in protest of this “unlawful termination”

  24. Lone Ranger June 2, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Following the law has nothing to do with the Union…..Apples and Oranges!

    Nobody has disputed that Luman filed a hostile work complaint! Could the fight between Luman and McCurry have been prevented? Why wasn’t it investigated as required?

    A. Mono County is unaware that it is required to investigate of Hostile Workplace complaints?
    B. Because Ms. Sherman and County Counsel don’t believe that they need to investigate Hostile Workplace Complaints?
    C. Mono has never investigated Complaints so why start now?
    D. Mono is exempt from Federal Law?

    The Mono County Board of Supervisors needs to ask some tough questions and make sure their management is following the law! Don’t accept “All is fine” or “We have it under control” as answers.

  25. Lone Ranger June 2, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    You are right Tonto…..Stupid can be very expensive!

  26. Tonto June 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Kimosabe –

    Do you have the slightest idea how difficult it is to terminate a government employee that belongs to a union in California? Of course unionized labor has something to do with this Bellomo fiasco.

    Our friends from the far-right call unions: America’s brand of socialism.

    But for some odd reason, the Bridgeport variety of far-right is eerily quiet on this.

  27. Lone Ranger June 4, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    How about Good hostile work environment cases? They share three common elements:

    1. Your harassment is either severe, pervasive or both
    2. You complained to Human Resources (HR) or a supervisor is aware of the harassment
    3. Your employer failed to prevent and correct the harassment

  28. Tonto June 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    It doesn’t become a hostile work environment until employees start hammering on each other at work. Then it’s bye-bye hostile workers.
    Back to a non-hostile work environment.

  29. John Barton June 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    Tonto/Just the facts….. whoever you are, your posts suck and receive very little positive upside. In fact, your posts do little to further the conversation in a constructive way. If you prefer to call names why not use your own name instead of hiding behind numerous monikers?

  30. Limbaughism on the move June 4, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    The right wing as a tremendous problem entertaining opposing points of view. All they can contribute is childish Limbaugh-sounding attacks such as “your posts suck” and absolutely nothing else. This is pure proof that when you get to the heart of the truth today, people rely on their Limbaughism hoping the other Limbaughites will unite and defeat the dreaded liberals. Meanwhile the middle of the road is watching everything.

    • John Barton June 5, 2012 at 6:21 am #

      Wow. The pot calling the kettle black,…..again!


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