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June 9, 2014

Delaney skips consequences

The frustration factor involving former St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney just shot up exponentially. That's because Delaney, 55, has begun collecting a lifetime pension of $92,706 a year.

Here's a guy whose behavior in public office was judged to be so bad that St. Clair County paid $665,000 in damages to several of his employees for sexual harassment. And yet there has been no effort to make him forfeit that pension or at least make him repay the county the $665,000.

Former Caseyville Police Chief Jose Alvarez recently was charged by a special prosecutor with misdemeanor battery for his behavior at a public meeting. The Delaney settlements refer to "assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress," so why wasn't he charged with a crime -- assault, official misconduct, something? If he were convicted of a felony, he would have to forfeit his pension.

St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said none of Delaney's accusers wanted to pursue criminal charges; they just wanted him to resign. But the taxpayers who are picking up this tab for those settlements think that forfeiting his pension would be a fitting consequence.

As for repayment of the settlements, Kelly said that pensions can't be garnished and Delaney doesn't have any money beyond that. But his financial situation could change; a court judgment would give the public a chance at getting back some of their money.

Kelly bristles at the suggestion that the Democrats are looking out for Delaney or the party's interests. But if Delaney were a Republican, you can bet there would be consequences over and above resigning.

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