The case of California Department of Justice Special Agent Victor Resendez now brings to three this year the times a CSLEA member has been reinstated to his position after dismissal, and it happened because he was a full, dues-paying member, which entitled him to legal representation.
I commend CSLEA attorney Dave De La Riva for the great job he did on righting a grave injustice in the case of Agent Resendez and thank CSLEA attorney and former Special Agent Jim Vitko for his assistance in making it happen."
On September 21, the State Personnel Board approved a decision by Administrative Law Judge Cynthia Z'berg Lebov modifying the dismissal of Special Agent Victor Resendez to just a four-month suspension.
At the time of his
dismissal from DOJ
was an 18-year veteran.
Among other things, Judge Lebov found that the dismissal was too harsh a penalty in light of the fact that DOJ
was unable to prove several of the charges against Resendez
, including dishonesty, incompetency, inefficiency, or willful disobedience.
The dismissal of Resendez
followed an investigation based in part on alleged "rumors" of overtime abuse.
After spending several man-hours pouring over hundreds of pages of documents and interviewing several witnesses, the investigation yielded no proof of such abuse.
discovered that an entry in Resendez's diary did not accurately reflect his
work activities over a 24-hour span of time.
After hearing the testimony of Resendez
and his supervisors, Judge Lebov concluded, in part, that the inaccurate diary entry was not intended to deceive anyone.
In fact, Resendez
worked the total number of hours he
claimed in his
diary, just not during the exact times reflected in his
The judge noted that Resendez
could have profited by requesting overtime wages for the work he
actually performed during the aforementioned span of time and could have requested per diem, but he
In coming to its decision, the court also recognized that Resendez
is a highly decorated Agent who was awarded the DOJ
Medal of Valor in 1994, after saving the life of a kidnapping victim, and, shortly before he
was dismissed, was selected to work on a DOJ unit whose job it is to monitor and apprehend some of the state's most violent criminals.
A key component of the decision is that DOJ
committed a Skelly violation.
According to Skelly v. State Personnel Board, an employee is entitled to the materials upon which the decision-maker relied upon to come to its decision to take action against the employee.
In this case, the diary entries were relied upon by DOJ
to come to its decision to charge Resendez
with dishonesty and to dismiss him from his
failed to serve Resendez
with a copy of his
diary at the time he
The remedy for a Skelly violation is back pay from the date of the dismissal to the date of the decision.
was dismissed effective December 18, 2008, meaning Resendez
is due approximately 21 months of back pay and benefits due to the error.