Did St. Clair County discriminate?

May 13, 2013 

Did St. Clair County discriminate against disabled people who applied for job training in July 2011? Intergovernmental Grants Department Director Debra Moore insists no, but a state investigation uncovered compelling evidence that led state investigators to conclude that discrimination did indeed happen.

Two disabled people were told there wasn't money for training, even though the county had plenty of funds available, and an able-bodied person was enrolled in training just a few days later, according to a state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity report.

Also, the report states the whistleblower was fired in January 2012 two hours after Moore called the state trying to find out the source of the complaint. Moore said the firing was not related, but the timing sure looks suspect.

You'd think this situation would have put Moore on the hot seat, but apparently not. St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern gave Moore a raise in the midst of all this. Her salary went from $103,989 in 2011 to $133,112 in 2012, a 28 percent increase. She now makes $9,000 a year more than Dan Maher, the county administrator.

Moore took on additional duties involving HUD programs in East St. Louis, but still a 28 percent raise? Wouldn't Kern have wanted to at least wait until the discrimination allegations were settled? Kern couldn't be reached for comment.

It's pretty difficult to fix a problem if the people involved won't admit there is one. Moore's continued insistence that her department did nothing wrong should make the state insist that any final settlement include an acknowledgment of wrongdoing.

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