The North County Times provided an update today on the case of Rodger Hartnett, the County Office of Education employee who alleged he was fired for complaining that one firm, Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz, received a disproportionate share of legal work “based on personal relationships” in the office rather than merit.

Last month a Superior Court judge ruled that the firing was invalid because the office had failed to investigate his claims, and opined that Hartnett was entitled to his job and back pay. The County Office of Education turned him away and is appealing the ruling. It argues that Hartnett was fired for negligence, insubordination and dishonesty.

Yesterday Hartnett was turned away from the office again after his attorney got a court order saying he could return to work. The North County Times reported that an attorney for the Office of Education, Steven Cologne, convinced the judge to stay the order:

Office of Education Superintendent Randy Ward was served with the order putting Hartnett back at work on Monday afternoon. A short time later, agency attorneys were on the phone with the judge and convinced him to suspend that order, according to Hartnett’s attorney Barry Vrevich.

“The Office of Education appears to have a personal grudge against Mr. Hartnett,” Vrevich said Tuesday. “Their litigation tactics appear to be part of an effort to starve Mr. Hartnett into submission.”

EMILY ALPERT

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