Van de Veld believes CSC should hear Bernadette Meno case - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Van de Veld believes CSC should hear Bernadette Meno case

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The lawyer for the central figure in the mass firing of seven Port Authority of Guam employees back in 2012 will likely seek a court order to force the Civil Service Commission to hear his case. Attorney Curtis Van de Veld argues that a recent high court ruling supports his contention that the Port missed the legal deadline to terminate client Bernadette Meno.

The employees were accused of conspiring to make illegal payments to Meno for a work injury claim. They appealed their adverse actions to the civil service commission. Five of them prevailed, but still await the results of a court appeal by the Port. Two other cases, including Meno's, have still not been heard by the CSC, and a frustrated Van de Veld says he'll recommend to his client that they take the matter to the superior court.

"Because if we have to keep coming back before these people we're never going to get due process of law" he stated. He's pushing for a hearing after a just issued Supreme court ruling which he says supports his client's argument that her termination came too late.

The high court agreed with fired Port financial chief Jojo Guevara, who won his case based on untimely termination. "Management knew or should have known prior to October 16 of the circumstances relative to the termination of the employees including Ms. Meno," he said.  "Then they knew about if there was an illegal claim by Ms. Meno then they knew about that before Mr. Guevara signed off on the payments. So to say that somehow the Guevara decision does not apply to Ms. Meno is ridiculous considering his actions occurred after the actions of Ms. Meno in submitting her claim."

But Port attorney Darlene Hiton says the facts of the Guevara case are completely different, and don't apply in Meno's case. And CSC director Peter Calvo says they are holding off on the Meno case and another one pending the court decision.

In the meantime, Van de Veld contends, the longer the port and the CSC delay resolution of the cases, the more money it will cost the port in the end, saying, "We're talking about years of backpay liability that the people of Guam will have to pay for."

The CSC scheduled the next status conference in three months. 

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