Mora official sued over termination of schools employee

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Schools superintendent, school board also named

By Jason Brooks

The Mora Schools Board of Education, along with Board President George Trujillo and Superintendent Ella Arellano, have been named in a lawsuit by a former employee, who claims he was harassed and eventually lost his job and livelihood.

Ray Pino, who was fired from Mora Schools in October 2017, filed a suit in District Court in July. The suit charges Trujillo, in both his capacity as the school board chair and as one of the three Mora County commissioners “has harrassed and threatened school district and county employees and has attempted to micro-manage school employees in a manner not permitted by state law.”

Pino, in the suit, claims he was harassed in a variety of ways, including through Trujillo having Mora Schools Superintendent Ella Arrellano, who was hired in the fall of 2016, target him almost immediately after she was hired, saying Pino’s immediate supervisor was “coerced” into signing a letter of reprimand.

The suit states Pino did not support Trujillo in his 2014 race for County Commissioner and actively opposed Trujillo in the 2015 school board election. This was followed by what the suit describes as a series of negative actions taken toward Pino, who worked for Mora Schools for about 19 years as a driver and a custodian.

Trujillo diverted questions to attorney Ann L. Keith, of the Albuquerque firm Stiff, Keith & Garcia, LLC, but she had not returned Optic calls as of this writing. Trujillo said he believes the case will have an outcome that favors the defendants.

Richard Rosenstock of Santa Fe is representing Pino.

The suit states Trujillo “ and his family are known in Mora and in the local news media as ‘The Roosters’ because of the aggressive and confrontational manner in which they treat persons perceived to be political opponents.”

Trujillo was defeated in his June primary bid to retain his County Commission seat. School board elections are set for 2019.