The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 14, 2009
Court files: Game warden sues State Personnel Board

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Court files introduce lawsuits of interest to state workers. We highlight the case, link you to the file and show you where to track developments on your own.

  • Click on the case number below to download the file. (19 pages)
  • Check for subsequent filings on the Sacramento Superior Court's document viewing page. Plug the case number into the appropriate field, click the search button and then scroll down to see a list of documents filed.
Case No.
34-2009-80000209

Filed: 04/02/2009

Petitioner: Alan Weingarten

Respondent: California State Personnel Board

Real Party in Interest: California Department of Fish and Game

Weingarten's attorneys argue that SPB acted "arbitrarily, capriciously, and unreasonably, and in excess of its jurisdiction," when it upheld the Fish and Game warden's six month suspension.

The reasons for the suspension are summarized (and then explained in greater detail) in an SPB appeal decision from last year that is part of the court record:

Appellant is charged with an inexcusable neglect of duty, unlawful discrimination, discourteous treatment of other employees, and failure of good behavior which caused discredit to the appointing power for broadcasting a profane, discriminatory, and insulting comment over the Respondent's radio network about a female coworker, while he was engaged in an enforcement action, on September 9, 2006.


Appellant is also charged with unlawful discrimination, discourteous treatment of others, inexcusable neglect of duty, and failure of good behavior bringing discredit upon the appointing power for an incident on June 24, 2006. In that incident he left alcohol in the possession of minors, and transported a female minor who had been drinking alcohol to her vehicle and let her drive off without giving her a sobriety test. He did not notify dispatch that he was making the transport, did not include in his daily activity report that
he had made the transport, and, while making the transport, engaged in a mobile telephone conversation (loud enough for the female minor to hear) with a coworker in
which he told the coworker that he had a very pretty young woman who was wearing
nothing but a hot pink bikini in his truck with him. He then gave her the telephone and told her to talk to his coworker.

Weingarten's attorneys claim that SPB

... abused its discretion by imposing and sustaining such a severe and unconscionable punishment based upon Petitioner's conduct. ... abused its discretion because the proposed decision is not supported by the findings. ... abused its discretion in that Respondent has not proceeded in a manner required by law. ... has acted arbitrarily, capriciously, and unreasonably, and in excess of its jurisdiction and its conduct is not supported by fair and substantial reasons.

What does Weingarten want?

  1. That a peremptory writ of mandate issue setting aside and vacating the BOARD'S decision and remanding the matter to the BOARD for the imposition of a penalty consistent with the weight of the evidence;
  2. For reasonable attorney's fees pursuant to Government Code section 800;
  3. For costs of suit incurred herein;
  4. For such other and further relief the court deems just and proper.

The first four pages of the filing lay out Weingarten's petition to the court. The SPB decision on appealand details of the adverse action against Weingarten start at page 5. The last two pages document SPB's denial of Weingarten's rehearing request.

Was Weingarten's six-month suspension too severe?

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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