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Retaliation suit and $500,000 payout result of ‘unfortunate situation,’ Daiber says

Meet governor hopeful Bob Daiber

Bob Daiber is seeking the Democratic nomination to face Bruce Rauner in the 2018 election for governor.
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Bob Daiber is seeking the Democratic nomination to face Bruce Rauner in the 2018 election for governor.

The Chicago Tribune on Saturday published an in-depth look at a 2010 lawsuit against Madison County schools chief and gubernatorial hopeful Bob Daiber, which resulted in a $500,000 settlement at taxpayer expense.

The lawsuit, brought by a woman who worked for Daiber at the Madison County regional superintendent of schools office, alleged that she was fired after she complained of having a pay rate that was not in line with the pay of a male colleague.

Daiber told the Tribune the case was the result of an “unfortunate situation” but denied retaliation. Daiber told the newspaper he tried to resolve the matter in a fair way. He said the worker was fired because of budget cuts, not retaliation.

“People that know my character, (they) know that’s not my character,” Daiber told the newspaper. “I treat women as 100 percent equals.”

The former employee, Mary Parker, testified about a meeting she had with Daiber to discuss the pay issue.

“The meeting ended with Dr. Daiber pointing his finger at me and telling me that he could fire me, lay me off, reduce my hours, make me part-time. He said that he could reprimand me, and he advised me not to say a word to anybody about the meeting, to any of my coworkers, or that he would fire me immediately,” she said, according to court transcripts obtained by the Tribune.

Daiber is seeking the Democratic nomination to run for governor in November.

In an interview Saturday, Daiber told the News-Democrat that he’s had to dismiss 18 or so employees over the years because of funding cuts. He said his office currently has about 15 employees but previously has employed more than 30.

Daiber said it was the Madison County Board’s decision to settle the suit.

“I’ve never been satisfied with the outcome of the case. It’s not the result I wanted. It was what the County Board and the chairman and the county administrator thought was best, that we settle it, so we went on with life,” Daiber said. “It wasn’t a situation that I created, but it was one I wound up living with.”

The Tribune’s full story is here.

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