Image © The Sacramento Bee
He is a butcher in New York, a shop steward for his union, the son of Italian immigrants, the father of four sons and a daughter. His formal education stopped at the ninth grade.
The story of Dr. Josette Mondanaro’s notorious angry letter is as complex as the political motives that she contends are at the heart of Gov. Brown’s decision to fire her.
Dr. Josette Mondanaro, a state health official who was ordered fired by Gov. Brown – purportedly because she wrote an allegedly obscene letter on state stationery – Friday accused the governor of covering up abuses in his administration in an effort to attract conservative voters.
State Health Director Dr. Jerome Lackner said Monday he was advised by the Health Department’s legal counsel that Dr. Josette Mondanaro’s dismissal as state drug abuse director was “not legal” and “would never stand up” in a hearing.
Chief state health administrator Ray Procunier Tuesday praised Josette Mondanaro as one of the best administrators in the Health Department and said he quit at one point rather than fire her.
State Health Director Dr. Jerome Lackner has angrily differed with Health and Welfare Agency Secretary Mario Obledo on events leading up to the firing of Dr. Josette Mondanaro as state drug abuse director.
Testimony on Dr. Josette Mondanaro’s dramatic appeal from her Oct. 25 dismissal as state drug abuse director ended late Friday after five grueling days of unusual public inquiry into the inner workings of government.
Half a year has passed since this dark-haired woman set the Brown administration on its ear. Half a year since she captured national headlines for her refusal to leave quietly.
In 1975, the state of California had few funds set aside to help drug-dependent women and their unborn children. Specialized services to treat perinatal and neonatal drug addiction were not available to most women. Aside from a few dedicated volunteers, whose medical school colleagues gently but firmly warned them that working with individuals with drug addiction was tantamount to professional suicide, most physicians were not interested in treating what is now considered “chemical dependency.” In fact, most doctors did not view addiction as a treatable disease.