Kurt Prenzler, the Madison County treasurer, said Friday he intends to appeal a $450,000 judgment issued the day before by a federal jury that found Prenzler violated federal law by firing his office’s comptroller.
The jury found that the employee, who had an unspecified severe illness and resulting disability, was protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“I disagree with the jury’s verdict, but I respect the process,” Prenzler said, reading from a prepared statement. “I promised to make budget cuts and I did. This was a part of my budget cuts.”
Since the lawsuit was filed against Prenzler in his official role as county treasurer, the county would be on the hook for the jury award.
Linda Dunnagan, the comptroller, filed a complaint at U.S. District Court in East St. Louis in early December 2014, alleging Prenzler had violated the ADA when her job as comptroller was eliminated in early January 2013.
Dunnagan, who had been hired by former Treasurer Fred Bathon in 2000, contended that despite a disability connected to her severe illness, she “was able to fully perform the essential functions of her job with defendant if provided the reasonable accommodation of an IV drip at work.”
Prenzler, a Republican, is running for County Board chairman in November against incumbent Alan Dunstan, a Democrat.
Prenzler was elected treasurer in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.