Metro-East News

Madison County puts controversial department head on leave — but won’t say why

Kristin Poshard
Kristin Poshard

Madison County Community Development Director Kristen Poshard was placed on paid administrative leave on Thursday for “violations of the county’s personnel policy,” according to County Administrator Doug Hulme.

Poshard, 43, was appointed to head community development on March 15 with an annual salary of $92,000. Records showed Poshard has not been in her office since June 26. She filled out her time card, but didn’t sign it, according to county spokeswoman Cynthia Ellis.

“That’s definitely something you would do if you were coming into the office,” Ellis said.

Poshard declined to go into detail. “On the advice of my attorneys and in contemplation of litigation against the county, Doug Hulme, (county board member) Phil Chapman and other administration officials, I will not be making a comment at this time,” she said.

Neither County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler nor Hulme would confirm the reason for Poshard’s leave.

The agenda for a county board meeting in July included a proposed raise in salary for Poshard, but it was withdrawn without discussion or vote. At the time, Hulme said the raise would be referred back to the personnel committee in August.

Former Madison County Judge James Hackett confirmed he was retained by the county to investigate a personnel matter.

The sheriff’s department received a request for additional security related to Kristen Poshard, but declined to release the report under Freedom of Information Act request because its release would be an “unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

“The department cannot comment on your request,” said Madison County Sheriff’s Major Jeff Connor.

“The disclosure of the requested report regarding Kristen Poshard is exempt from production as the narrative contains highly personal information regarding several individuals, including Poshard. Also, the investigation of this matter is closed and no criminal charges were issued nor were any arrests made,” the letter signed by FOIA Officer Jaimie Linton.

The BND is appealing that denial. FOIA requests for other documents pertaining to Poshard have also been denied.

Poshard’s appointment drew criticism after county board members discovered she had a criminal record, including a 2008 arrest for reckless discharge of a firearm. Poshard told BND reporters that her self-destructive behavior was due to childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her step-father.

Beth Hundsdorfer: 618-239-2570, @bhundsdorfer

Reporter Elizabeth Donald contributed to this story.