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Sean D. Reyes
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AG Reyes Thanks AAG J. Francis Valerga for Decades of Service

 

J. Francis Valerga

J. Francis Valerga

SALT LAKE CITY October 20, 2016 – Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement today:

“Few employees at the Attorney General’s Office come close to J. Francis Valerga when measured by dedication to the office, to the principles of justice, fairness, and integrity, and to the agencies and employees of this state. In sum, J. Francis is a tremendous asset to the Office, the Division, and the Employment Section. While some lose steam as they approach retirement, J. Francis has only gained momentum, running hard until the end. He will be missed and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

As an Assistant Attorney General in the Employment Section of the Litigation Division, J. Francis has represented state agencies before the Career Service Review Board, the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  In over twelve years with hundreds of cases in the archives, he has only lost one case.  In addition to representing agencies with exceptional dedication (he has been known to spend the night in the office with only tomato soup for sustenance when preparing for a hearing), J. Francis screens hundreds of potential cases every year, advising agencies and human resource specialists on how to proceed with proposed disciplinary actions.  It is here that he makes a huge difference for the employees of the state, ensuring that the imposition of discipline is not capricious or autocratic, but is fair and judicious.  His efforts save the state untold mountains of money and the Employment Section countless hours litigating lost causes.

In addition to carrying a significant caseload, J. Francis has distinguished himself by mentoring other attorneys, consulting with managers in our office and other agencies, and meeting with members of the legislature, testifying at legislative committee hearings, and sometimes drafting legislation and administrative rules.

J. Francis is revered for his knowledge of employment law, but he is most appreciated for his generosity of spirit, his profound kindness and the respect he shows to everyone with whom he works – even adversaries.  During his closing argument in a recent hearing, he spared the pro se grievant an unnecessary coup de grace and instead complimented him on his courage and his otherwise unblemished employment history.  Though the grievant lost, he commented that the process had been fair. It’s a rare and complimentary commentary on the kind of attorney, and representative of the AGO, that J. Francis was and is. He will be missed in our office. 

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