Former Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner Cathy Neville is appealing a judge’s ruling that upheld the county’s decision to fire her for alleged misconduct in office.
Neville filed a notice in Sonoma County Superior Court this week signaling her intent to contest Judge Patrick Broderick’s ruling in May.
The judge sided with county attorneys who argued that supervisors had the authority to fire Neville on March 22. Neville contended that only the state could take that action.
County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, acting on behalf of the entire five-member board, fired Neville after she allegedly created a toxic work environment for employees, lied in a county-led investigation and failed to show leadership on high-profile agricultural initiatives.
Neville subsequently sued the county, contending that supervisors acted illegally in retribution for her politically unpopular decision to fire Amy Cooper, the county’s former director of Animal Care and Control. Cooper has since been rehired.
“We believe that Judge Broderick’s decision was thoughtful and carefully reasoned and will be upheld on appeal,” County Counsel Bruce Goldstein said Friday.
— Derek Moore