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Armed with a new ruling from a Superior Court judge, a former San Diego County Office of Education employee who claims he was wrongfully terminated will try again to return to work.

It’s another wrinkle in the complicated case of Rodger Hartnett, who has sued the County Office, alleging that he was fired for blowing the whistle on conflicts of interest within the public agency. The office counters that he was fired for negligence, insubordination and dishonesty.

A judge ordered in March that Hartnett should be put back to work and given back pay. The office appealed. That appeal was dismissed last month, but the office contended that Hartnett still could not go back to work or receive his past paychecks until the larger case about whether he was wrongly terminated had wound its way through the court.

This week a judge issued another order, denying the attempt by the County Office to hold off enforcing his March order. Hartnett said he planned to report to work on Monday and request his pay. The County Office declined to comment on the ruling.

EMILY ALPERT

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