Federal probe continues into alleged discrimination within St. Clair County Grants Department

News-DemocratSeptember 19, 2013 

Three months after it began, federal officials continue their investigation into whether St. Clair County employees discriminated against disabled residents and retaliated against three county employees for exposing the alleged discrimination.

The investigation is ongoing, according to Jason Kuruvilla with the U.S. Department of Labor. Federal officials are not releasing details of the investigation until its conclusion.

St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern and Intergovernmental Grants Department Director Debra Moore could not be reached for comment. Moore previously said the department does not discriminate and she has not retaliated against any employees.

Federal investigators from Washington, D.C., interviewed county employees and collected records in July in response to discrimination complaints filed from three employees within the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department.

The Department of Labor has the authority to investigate the Grants Department because St. Clair County has received more than $18.5 million in federal funds since 2009 to administer a training program for unemployed residents. The department administers the program in St. Clair, Monroe, Washington, Randolph and Clinton counties.

State officials previously concluded in a separate investigation the Grants Department denied services to two residents based on their disabilities; fired a whistleblower who told state officials of the discrimination; and created a hostile work environment.

State investigators determined county employees denied otherwise qualified residents help through the training program, according to a 54-page report from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The report states about 2 percent of the 1,426 residents enrolled in the program were disabled.

Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at dkelley@bnd.com or 618-239-2501.

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service