Cruz County Superior Court No. CV179070 The Honorable Paul M.
P. Cohn and Sean Bothamley for Plaintiff and Appellant.
Kontz & Brenner and Thornton Kontz for Defendant and
McRae, County Counsel Betsy Allen, Assistant County Counsel,
for Real Party In Interest and Respondent.
appeal arises from the 2008 termination of appellant James
Weisner’s employment with the County of Santa Cruz (the
County). Several years of litigation followed the
termination, with Weisner eventually reinstated to his County
employment without back pay.
appeal, Weisner seeks reversal of a 2014 order denying his
petition for administrative writ of mandamus. The writ
petition asked the superior court
to order the Santa Cruz County Civil Service Commission (the
Commission) to award back pay and other benefits as part of
the reinstatement of Weisner’s County employment. The
superior court denied Weisner’s writ petition as moot,
finding that the Commission lost jurisdiction to grant relief
because Weisner resigned from his reinstated employment with
the County. As set forth below, we conclude that the matter
is not moot, and we reverse.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
over seven years, Weisner worked as a heavy equipment
mechanic at the County’s Buena Vista Landfill. At the
same time, he owned and operated a construction hauling
business. At three different times in 2008, Weisner used
County employees and equipment to remove trucks full of
construction materials from the landfill. As a result of
these incidents, Weisner was investigated by the County.
Following the investigations, on May 12, 2008, the County
dismissed Weisner for violations of County rules and Public
Works Department policies. Weisner appealed his dismissal to
December 2008, the Commission found that there was just cause
to terminate Weisner’s employment. In April 2009,
Weisner filed a petition for writ of mandate that asked the
superior court to set aside his termination. The superior
court granted Weisner’s writ petition, concluding that
only two of the Commission’s five findings had
sufficient evidentiary support, Weisner’s termination
was excessive punishment, and the Commission’s decision
to uphold Weisner’s termination was an abuse of
discretion. The superior court ordered the Commission to
rehear evidence and determine appropriate discipline.
County appealed the superior court’s order on the writ
petition. This court affirmed the order in September 2011.
(Weisner v. Santa Cruz County Civil Service
Commission (Sept. 6, 2011, H035387) [nonpub. opn.].)
a hearing in March 2012, the Commission again upheld the
termination of Weisner’s employment. Weisner filed a
petition for administrative writ of mandamus that asked the
superior court to set aside the Commission’s decision.
On December 12, 2012, the superior court granted
Weisner’s writ petition. The superior court ordered the
Commission to conduct a de novo hearing limited to two
charges, unauthorized use of public equipment and engaging ...