BELLEVILLE — A tearful Bob Delaney on Wednesday resigned his job as the county's elected clerk and vehemently denied that he mistreated any employees.
Referring to a racial-discrimination, sexual-harassment and wrongful-termination action brought by an employee, Delaney said, "It's bogus. But they are going to use it, and use it to keep trying to hurt me ... I don't want to put my family through this." He declined to state the identity of "they."
In an emotional farewell to his employees and office supervisors, Delaney said he was leaving after 34 years of public service. Delaney, a Democrat, then went to County Board Chairman Mark Kern's office and turned in his resignation from the $100,870-a-year job.
Kern could not be reached for comment. County Democratic Party Chairman Robert Sprague could not be reached for comment.
Jim Williams, Delaney's lawyer, declined to comment.
During an interview in the courthouse, Delaney acknowledged that there are 18 employee statements taken in connection with an investigation of how he conducted his office. He said that all but three of the statements were not critical of him.
"There were three employees that don't like me," he said. "They said they were afraid for their jobs, but, in my opinion, they were substandard employees."
He added, "In my 15 years (as clerk) I have never had a complaint of sexual harassment."
Attorney Tom Kennedy of Clayton, Mo., has said he represents a client who complained of sexual harassment, racial discrimination and wrongful discharge by Delaney. The client doesn't wish to comment at this time, Kennedy said.
Delaney, 54, said as he left the courthouse, "I gotta get a job." He began serving as clerk in 1999.
Delaney said that as he understood it, the wrongful-discharge allegation against him involved a former counter services clerk who, he said, had insulted a customer and was regularly late for work."
Delaney said he initially intended to suspend her for 2 1/2 days and then, after a talk with her, decided to fire her.
"She made flippant remarks when I tried to talk with her ... She was a terrible employee," he said. Efforts to reach the 25-year-old former clerk were unsuccessful.
According to St. Clair County Circuit Court records, Delaney's house on Woodford Way in Collinsville was in foreclosure last year, but the case was dismissed in August.
Delaney and his wife purchased the home in October 2002. At the time of the foreclosure, Delaney owed about $199,000 on the loan, according to court documents. Their monthly payment was more than $1,200.
The home is now estimated to be valued at more than $234,000, according to the St. Clair County assessor's office.
On Oct. 12, Commerce Bank filed suit for a bad debt against Delaney and his wife, Janet. Commerce received a judgment against the Delaneys for $85,340.92. The bank asked the county to deduct $600 per month from Delaney's paycheck.
In February 2009, Commerce Bank in Belleville sought more than $14,000 from Delaney in St. Clair County Circuit Court. The bank alleged Delaney had not repaid a $13,500 loan given to his re-election committee "Citizens for Bob Delaney" in June 2008.
The bank requested the case dismissed in June 2010 after court documents show Delaney paid down the loan.
Delaney was last elected in 2010, and his current term would have expired in late 2014. Under Illinois law, the County Board chairman selects someone to fill a vacancy in an elected county office, with approval from the County Board. The appointee must be from the same political party as the person who leaves the position.
In Illinois, a county clerk's primary duties include conducting elections, serving as a clerk for the County Board, and maintaining records that include marriage, birth and death certificates.
Delaney first began working for the county in 1979 as field crew supervisor in the assessor's office, and worked his way up to become office manager of the county clerk's office in 1994.
Delaney had been accepting donations for his re-election at recently as March 22, according to quarterly reports required by the Illinois State Board of Elections. The reporting period ended on March 31. The next report will likely be filed in July.
Two of Delaney's three children worked for him in the clerk's office. Shannon Delaney and Taylor Delaney work part-time at a rate of $12 per hour in the office. Shannon Delaney earned $9,378 and Taylor Delaney earned $7,170 in 2012, according to county records.