City of San Carlos Loses Again (Or Be Careful What You Wish For)

Posted on Monday, May 01, 2006 at 12:00PM
Posted by William R. Rapoport

In the June 2005 PORAC Law Enforcement News article on San Carlos Police Officer Gilbert Granado, I outlined the struggle that he was having regaining his position with the San Carlos Police Department after his termination in November 2001. Granado spent 13 ½ years with the Redwood City Police Department, after which he took a brief hiatus to enter into the general contracting business, only to be called by the then new chief of the San Carlos PD and asked if he would submit an application for that department. Although reluctant, Granado applied for, and was accepted at, the San Carlos PD and soon became an FTO and the POA vice-president. Because of his POA position, he came into disfavor with management (what a shock). The San Carlos PD was a small department known for its camaraderie between both sworn and non-sworn personnel. On a particular occasion, Granado gave a “hug” to a records clerk (conduct not uncommon in the department among sworn and non-sworn personnel), and management convinced the records clerk to file a sexual harassment complaint against Granado in September 2001. Granado was terminated for that “simple” hug in November 2001. The city hired Richard Bolanos of the law firm of Liebert, Cassidy, Whitmore in San Francisco to represent its interests in the grievance process and appeal.

The first arbitration ended with a recommendation by the arbitrator, in a bifurcated proceeding, for a 90-day suspension and return to work with the balance of Granado’s back pay and benefits due back to him. The city filed a Petition to Vacate the Arbitration Award, which petition was granted by the San Mateo Superior Court for perceived procedural irregularities. The Superior Court sent the matter back for a new arbitrator. The second arbitration, in front of a new arbitrator, concluded on October 15, 2004, with the new arbitrator returning Granado back to work with full back pay and benefits and no suspension. The city again filed a Petition to Vacate this award, which was, this time, denied by the same judge who had previously granted the prior petition. Judgment was entered in favor of Gilbert Granado on February 8, 2005.

Unwilling to give up, the city filed an appeal with the California Court of Appeal, who, on March 10, 2006 upheld the second arbitrator’s decision and that of the Superior Court, and reinstated Granado with full back pay and benefits from his date of termination of November 26, 2001 to whenever he is reinstated (four years, four months and counting). The city has now agreed to return Granado back to work as of April 10, 2006, and issues regarding back and benefits will be determined after mediation/arbitration of those issues only.

Throughout Granado’s 4 ½ year ordeal, the PORAC Legal Defense Fund has given him and his counsel unwavering support, without which none of these successful efforts could have been undertaken. Both Granado and his counsel express their deepest gratitude for this continued support in the past and continuing through his reinstatement and back pay and benefits arbitration.

Granado has been represented from the outset by myself, an LDF panel attorney from Redwood City. I have been an LDF panel attorney since 1975, representing hundreds of officers from Crescent City (by the Oregon border) to Central California.

PORAC Legal Defense Administrator Ed Fishman Testimony: Law Enforcement Use of Body Cameras.