The ER is providing some coverage. Gloria Albin-Sheets has hired counsel from Santa Rosa while the county is represented by John Vrieze, and is being tried in front of visiting judge Conrad Cox, who came up from Mendocino.
The article summarizes some of the testimony from Albin-Sheets and Gallegos, who claims she was laid off due to the loss of grant funds. The article quotes from Gallegos’ testimony as follows:
“I regret to inform you that due to budget cuts and grant reductions, your employment with the office is terminated,” Gallegos read from the termination letter he sent Sheets.
In 2003, he said approximately 60 percent of the funding for the District Attorney’s Office was paid for by grants.
At the point of Sheets’ termination, Gallegos said the grants were either lost or would be soon.
“I know the decisions I made at the time were based on the information I had at the time,” he said.
Had the grants not been lost, Gallegos said Sheets would not have been terminated when she was, although he said he could not say what would have happened in the long term.
Gallegos said it was also important to note the difference between terminating employment and firing, especially in this situation. “(If I fired you), I would have asked you to leave, even if I had all the money in the world,” he said. “Termination means I don’t have the money, ‘Sorry, you have to go.’”
Where I’m confused is whether it makes any difference why she was terminated. One of the controversies around Gallegos’ office is that he’s maintained an “at will” employment system despite earlier suggestions that he would abandon it. Basically, it means she can be fired for any reason except for an unlawful reason, such as her race, sex, etc. The article references her worker’s comp status. Is she alleging that she was fired because of her injury? That would be wrongful, but if the jury is convinced that she was fired for political reasons then I don’t get her case. The article is silent on her theory.
Not that you necessarily need a theory. I’ve been told about a case in which the plaintiff rested his case and in the hallway the defense attorney came up to plaintiff’s counsel and said “what the Hell is your theory of the case?!!” Plaintiff’s counsel responded “my theory is that you’re going to fuck up.” As the story goes, the defense did indeed fuck up.
Hmmm. No TS coverage of the trial?