Former business director at Collinsville park district alleges unjust firing

News-DemocratNovember 12, 2013 

The former business director of the Collinsville Area Recreation District has filed a federal suit against the district alleging she was unjustly fired for her support of Democratic candidates and for reporting the misuse of public funds.

Rosemary Barczewski filed the suit Nov. 5. She seeks more than $250,000 from the district. Barczewski and her attorney, Lee Barron, could not be reached for comment.

Five commissioners oversee the district, which includes Splash City in Collinsville, Arlington Greens Golf Course in Granite City and a variety of parks.

District Executive Director Terry Wilson declined to comment on the suit. He was hired in July 2012 -- three months before Barczewski was terminated.

Barczewski began working for the district in 1995 as an accountant and was promoted to the director of business. She earned $35.05 per hour at the time of her termination in October 2012, according to court documents.

The suit alleges she was fired because her political association with the Democratic party conflicted with the associations of a majority of the board.

Barczewski alleges she was told "you do not fit the plan" at the time of her firing. When she asked what that meant Wilson simply kept repeating the same phrase and refused to describe the "plan," according to court documents.

Barczewski was fired shortly after reporting her concerns about the use of public funds, according to court documents. For example, she was concerned about managers using vehicles and other public resources for personal use; some golf lesson fees that were withheld from the district; and harassment of employees that could create a liability for the district.

Barczewski also claims she was discriminated against for requesting family leave to care for her autistic son. Wilson's predecessor, the interim director, allegedly responded in a "volatile and violent manner" to the request and "board members" criticized Barczewski for making the request.

In June 2012, the park district settled a racial discrimination suit in federal court for an unspecified amount.

The suit alleged the former manager of Arlington Greens Golf Course created a sexually and racially hostile environment, and unjustly fired an employee who complained. The current manager Mark Marcuzzo was not involved in the lawsuit.

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

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